Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Changes All Around

Times are a-changing. I've thoroughly neglected blogging while life was busy happening. This is not a bad thing...at all.

I now sit in a new town, as a new bride, with a new job and whole new set of things on my to do list. Since everything has changed so much I've decided it's time to change the blog as well. Instead of a singular focus on kid-related crafts, projects, etc. I've decided to expand the topics to life, love, food and what's going on in my life.

Working on revising things, but look out for some new fun ideas and a broader scope to reflect my life and interests. I'm as happy as a clam to be where I am, and I'm happy to share where life is leading.

Stay tuned for more fun!!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Country Living

I love living in the country! Love it! These are my neighbors who live behind the orchard. I've always loved horses, and spent two summers working at a horse ranch, so this was a treat to be able to have horse so close! I keep bringing carrots to share, but the horses have been in another pasture.

I'm still working on tilling the garden (with a hoe), and cleared out the flower beds last week. It's easy to want to do 87 million projects here, but I'm trying to focus on one thing at a time. The vegetable garden is at the top of my list. When I was a kid I'd never had a garden, so this is a totally new experience. If you have kids you can plant a small garden in a small space (even start with indoor herb gardens or starts). There are tons of books, and online resources available to help you get started. Many communities have community gardens that you and your kids can participate in and enjoy.

It's good to spend time reading and educating yourself (and kids) about what it takes to have a garden. It's good physical work, and the bonus of growing your own food is amazing (so I'm told). The spring weather is starting here, although it's still cold at night. My new experience was hearing the wind machines that roar like helicopters to keep the new buds on the trees warm. Longer days, and sunshine are definitely motivators to get out and work on the garden (and once that's up and running...I'm on to getting ducks!!).

Enjoy where you are at! Coastal, country, and city living all have benefits! To learn to be content is where you are can be difficult, but it's amazing when you start seeing all the wonders around you!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring has Sprung

Spring is back, and so am I! I've had a wonderful winter! I moved to the country (which I LOVE), started a new job, got my first writing job (a blog writer), and got to spend lots of quality time with my BF while he was off for the winter. I've had time to think about my blog, and writing, and life in general. Name the Trash Can is primarily going to be a blog for those who work with children (I want to have it be an idea universe), but I also want to talk about what goes on in my life. I get ideas for writing, and to use with kids from my interests, passions, and just from everyday living.

For example, living in the country has been a whole new experience! Winter wasn't as harsh as I thought it'd be, but with spring approaching I can see how much new life will be coming in the next few months. It's slowly getting greener outside, buds are growing, and there are baby animals in the neighboring pastures. I've also been blessed to live on a orchard, and there is lots of space for planting gardens. The previous renters (my friends) had several flower beds, and a vegetable garden. The old flowers need to be cut down and the vegetable garden is a big empty space. I have been thankful to be able to take care of indoor houseplants (thanks to my dear friend Devon who one summer gave me some helpful tips), but I'm a total newbie to outdoor plants & gardening. I LOVE learning by doing (and this is also a great thing to do with kids!). If you have a space for outdoor plants (or can have indoor plants) you can teach your kids as you learn! There are so many books, websites, and fellow greenthumbs that have tons of experience, ideas, and advice to pass along.

I'm off for spring break, so I'm going to start clearing and tilling my garden site, and flower beds. I tested the pH of the soil, and took pictures so I can document the learning process (also a great task to do with kids! Science & math fun!). The 4th & 5th graders at my work want to grow plants from seeds, and I'm excited to offer them a place to plant their starts! The other thing I'm working on is learning about poultry & fowl! I have a pasture where the landlord is going to keep calves & he said I can keep chickens down there! I've never had chickens (just indoor pets), and I'm excited to raise them. I went to the local co-op and they have TONS of chicks. I talked with a lady who owns about 35 chickens (I only want 3-5), and a lady who works at the co-op and left with a book, magazine, and some great information. I also fell in love with the sweet downy ducklings. Fell in love! So, now the new idea (I'm an idea maker) is to get two ducklings and keep them up by the garden. Ducks will eat up the insects (including slugs), and I can keep a kiddie pool nearby for them, and use the dirty water to fertilize my veggies.

So, gardening, ducks, and chickens are up on the to do list! I'm going to post some of my pictures from my pH testing and the sad winter garden areas. I've got great space to work with, and lots of ideas to work out. One thing about working with kids (of all ages) is to find new things to try, learn, and keeping a child-like wonder of all the amazing things in the world (like spring, baby animals, and getting your hands in the soil). Happy Spring Friends!!

Fabulously large garden space
Spots for flowers
Flower bed (one of five)
Another flower bed (there are some flowers starting to grow)
Soil for pH testing
My soil is neutral (a good base for gardening)
Norah is watching me and my soil experiments
Testing other aspects of what is in the soil (Nitrogen, phosphates, and potash)
Chicks at the co-op (the duckling picture is not from the co-op, but the ducks were that cute)


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Scenes from My Life...

I'm moving. Ten days left in Seattle. I'm slightly overwhelmed, tired, excited, and anxious for all the pieces to fall into place. I have many ideas for blogs; creative, helpful, and so fun...but I'm moving...and my life is all over the map.
SO, instead I'm going to post a few pictures. Pictures are a great way to share what's going on in your life. If you're moving, or transitioning with kids, taking lots of photos is a good idea. It helps you remember what you're leaving, and where you're going. With kids this is huge.

And thus...Scenes from My Life (December 2010)

I have this GREAT new app for my i-Phone. It's called Pocketbooth, and it takes photobooth style pictures. I will be playing with it SO much! The best part is then I can download them, and crop out a picture if it's fabulous. Like this fabulous picture of my dog Jack; who was adopted at 10 months (he's 7.5), and was abused, abandoned, and suffers from separation anxiety still (mostly with me). Here he is hiding under a table while we get ready for my nephew's birthday party. Poor Jack.
Snowflake decor for my nephew's tenth birthday (I will be doing a post on easy to make snowflakes). I can't believe he's ten! I only have one nephew, and one niece, and I wish I was around more to watch them grow!
Norah and Miles are helping me pack. Which means they get in all the empty boxes, scratch the tape on the packed ones, and then follow me all around the house. Very helpful.
Jack at the beach. The Hipstamatic camera app is another i-Phone favorite.
My dear friend Bethany buying fabric for my bridesmaid dress. In two months, and twelve days she will be the loveliest bride at a highly anticipated wedding!!!
I will be a very blessed bridesmaid! Love you B!
A beautiful wintery scene from my boyfriend's backyard. I can't believe how breathtakingly beautiful it looks! He lives in Idaho, and sent this to me. I'm jealous.
Holiday Iced Sugar Cookies from Madison Park Bakery. They have the most beautiful cookies, and cakes here. They taste lovely too.
Hipstamatic Me.
New haircolor for the winter, and a favorite new warm scarf I bought last year on clearance.

Hope you're keeping track of the scenes from your life.
They make it so much more memorable!!!
Love & Blessings to you all!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Miss You Journals

Saying goodbye is a hard thing for anyone to do. It's especially true for kids. I've had the privilege to be the nanny for the last 2+ years for two very wonderful kids. In about ten days I'm going to be moving from Seattle, and saying goodbye to the children. I'll visit, and keep in touch, but it's still a big change for them (and me). We had a very special goodbye dinner this last week, and it was a time to celebrate, and also mourn a little. We had good food, shared favorite memories, and shed a few tears too.

I was trying to think of a good way to keep in touch. Yes, there's e-mail, phone calls, even Skye. But I want something tangible, because a pro-active, hands-on way to communicate is a good tool to have with kids. So, I came up with this idea. It's a Miss You Journal. The idea is to have a journal that we send back and forth. We're each going to keep it for a month. While it's in our possession we can write notes, put in pictures, ask questions, draw pictures, put in a flower, etc. It's a way to share what we're doing, and then pass it along. This works very well for the kiddos in my care because they love to write, draw, and take pictures. I'm going to take it the last two weeks of December, and then send it to them for January.

Supplies Needed:
Unused journal (either lined or unruled)
Card stock (one piece)
Glue Stick
Markers to decorate
Packing tape

I wanted to decorate it in a fun way so I found an unused journal (this one was a really big journal with tons of pages & spiral bound). I like to get journals at Ross, or Target on sale. Get ones with a hard cover.
Before I decorated the journal I wrote a note in the first page. It explained how we'd use the journal, and was a positive note re-emphasizing how much I care about them, and how important they are to me. Make sure you put the date, and sign the note.
Next measure and cut the card stock to fit the cover. I made it just smaller to give it a framed look. I only did the front cover, but you can do the back at well. I glued it down with the glue stick.
Next is the fun part; decorating! I chose to cut out letters from magazines to spell out Miss You Journal. You can be as creative as you'd like. You can print out letters on a printer, but I like the homemade look for this (and one of the kiddos said she really liked how it looked!). I then took markers and decorated the edge. Again, be as creative as you'd like!! It's your journal to make and give!
Take the packing tape, and cover the front of the journal. This secures the cover, and helps the cover to last longer. Make sure you go over the front at least a few inches to create a good seal.
This is the finished project. It is very easy to make, and can be a very tangible way to stay in touch with those you care about. You can also have the kids decorate the front cover! You can use this with grandparents, friends that move away, etc. I'm looking forward to using the journal with the kids. They already have started writing in it, and even their mom wrote a note.


Thankfulness Project Part 2...Putting it together.

At the start of November, I started a Thankfulness Project with the kids. Here's the post. A few days before Thanksgiving the kids and I started putting it together.
We had written down what we were thankful for each day on our calendar. This a full month of thankfulness! A very good thing for anyone to do!
They were thankful for a mixture of things.
I like that they were thankful for simple things too. We had thirty things for each kid.
So then we cut out 15 leaves, and 15 pumpkins.
The kids decorated them, and then wrote one of their thankfulness words on them.
Some were pretty funny.
This one says water. I recommend using a black sharpie over the marker. Or make a little white tag to put over it so you can see it clearly. Also, it's a good idea to write the child's name on the back of the shape. Then you take the leaves, pumpkins, or whatever shape you decide to use, and hang them up in your dining room. They make great decorations for Thanksgiving. You could also make holiday shapes, and hang them up.

It's a great project that encourages appreciating what you have, and counting your blessings.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Birthday Idea #2 Celebration Crowns!

Making crowns for birthdays, and or any party is so much fun for kids (of all ages). The hard part is the durability of crowns for kids. Paper ones don't last, and I've had to re-staple SO many crowns, so I love love love this idea! I was inspired by a book about making crowns with thicker pieces (can't remember the book to save my life!), and of course...I made it my own!! These crowns are quick, durable, and super cute!!

Cardstock and/or Paper Books with paper in prints, patterns, etc.
Glitter or metallic paper
Glitter (multi-colored)
Newspaper (to put on table if you use glitter)
Pipe cleaners
Stickers, and/or confetti pieces
Clear Packing tape (thick)

First, take the packing tape. It can be 2-4 inches wide.
Lay out a strip about two inches longer than you need. You'll need to measure the person's head (use a string, or some other clever measuring device). You get to decide how thick you want your crown. When I made them with the kids I laid down two pieces of tape for about 4 inches, but I ended up only using one strip for the example (about two inches).
Cut 1/2 to 1 inch wide strips from your paper. You will need different lengths (I did 2, 4, 6 inch long strips). The beauty of this project is that you get to be creative and play around with lengths, and different materials. I made them from metallic paper, glitter paper, and patterned paper (all can be found in single sheets, packs, or books at any craft or paper store).
I then laid out the ones I wanted to use so they were easy to grab. If you're doing this with kids this is the time to have them pick out the paper they want to use.
I like to use metal confetti pieces (also found at any party or craft store). You can get almost any design or theme to use for your craft. These were random ones I had leftover from another project. Let the kids pick out the ones they want to use for their crown.
They are about as big as your thumbnail (to put in size context). You can also use stickers, pipe cleaners (I'd cut them into different lengths & use metallic ones). Be creative for your materials.
You can use glitter for the crown. Choose one with multiple colors. I like to use glitter bottles with a shaker spout for this project.
You're going to lay out the tape, sticky side up, on a table. Lay down the paper with the pattern side down. I vary the lengths, you can do a pattern with paper. Leave a blank inch or so one each end for the closing part. Then I fill in the spaces with the confetti. Once you have all your paper, confetti, stickers, pipe cleaners, etc. on you can sprinkle with your glitter. You might want to lay down newspaper if you're using glitter so it's easier to clean up & re-use. ***ALSO- at this point write the person's name on the back of a smaller piece of paper that will get mostly covered by tape. Very important when working with more than one child!!***
Next you'll want to take a piece of tape the same size as the first and lay it down on top of the other to make a seal. An adult might want to do this part, because the long piece can get tricky.
Then I take the crown and re-measure the child/person's head. It should be a little longer than their head. To close the crown; take the ends of the crown (which should be paper free), and wrap a piece of tape around it. No staples, no glue...no mess!!!!
Finished crown! You can bend the pipe cleaners into shapes, curl the paper, or cut them down in length if they are too long. This is a very basic one without glitter. I could have added more paper strips to fill in the spaces (it's really up to you!). These crowns last much longer than paper crowns, don't rip and/or come apart.
A finished crown. This one is two pieces of tape laid out, and we used glitter. We made these over a year ago, and they still look this good!!!

Have fun with your Celebration Crowns! I'm going to make some for New Year's!!!