When It’s Cold Outside Get Crafty Inside

I’ll be honest.  I’m not a fan of cold weather.  I’ve lived in Michigan my entire life.  But I still don’t like the cold.

I do believe it’s healthy to get outside as much as you can…so we do.  But it’s also nice sometimes to stay inside.  So as soon as the weather gets cooler I’m looking for fun indoor activities.

Around here that means it’s time to get crafty.  Here are some easy fall crafts and activities to do with your kids or by yourself!

  1. Paint with fruits and vegetables – Slice any fruit or vegetable to use as a stamp.  You get all different shapes and sizes.  Plus you can use up produce that is getting old.
  2. Make placemats with wax paper – Use leaves or color a picture and place them between two pieces of wax paper.  Iron the paper until both sides stick together.  Trim the edges.
  3. Make all of your fall/Thanksgiving decorations from nature – Go on a scavenger hunt in your yard or a local park to find sticks, pine-cones, leaves, rocks, etc.  Then get creative making decorations with them.
  4. Make Christmas cards and gifts – It may be early for some, but if you start making cards and gifts now you’ll be less stressed when Christmas approaches.  Plus you’ll have unique, heartfelt, homemade gifts for your friends and family.  Homemade baked goods and spice blends make great presents, as do crafts that you and your children create.
  5. Paint pottery – Find a local paint-your-own pottery studio (like Naked Plates) and create your own masterpiece.  This is a great thing to do with your kids.  Make a serving dish together and use it at all of your holiday gatherings.  Your kids will be so proud.
  6. Make Halloween costumes – There’s still time!  Instead of spending a lot of money to buy a costume, let your kids help make their own.  See how creative you can be using what you have at home.  Is that a fairy princess chef I see?
  7. Recreate the first Thanksgiving – Have your kids help make pilgrim and Indian costumes.  Read about the first Thanksgiving and put on a play.  You can even make a mini feast of what they may have eaten.
  8. Make a countdown chain – Make paper chains to count down to Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Then let your kids cut one ring off each day.
  9. Make art with food…and eat it! – Provide an assortment of sliced fruits, vegetables, nuts, crackers and dips (nut butters, pesto, hummus, etc.) and let your child get creative.  Make a picture on a plate (maybe a face or an animal or even something abstract).  Then eat it!  You can take a picture to capture their creation.
  10. Write a book – Help your child write their own book.  Fold blank paper.  Let them create a story.  If they are young you can write the story as they tell it.  If they are older they can write it themselves.  Then they can illustrate it.  After the book is finished read it together…over and over.  It’s a great way to help them be creative.

Fall is a wonderful time to be outside, breathe the crisp air and see the beauty of nature.  But it’s also a great time to be creative with your kids inside.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot or take a lot of time to stir their imagination and spend quality time together.  Plus you can get some of your holiday preparation done in advance.

What sort of fun activities do you do indoors once the weather becomes cooler?

Mary Voogt is a follower of Christ, a wife, and a mother of two. After 6 years as an electrical engineer she now stays home full time. She is passionate about real food and enjoys spending lots of time in the kitchen cooking and baking from scratch. She blogs at Homemade Dutch Apple Pie on a variety of topics including digestive issues, OCD, anxiety, infertility, natural parenting and healthy food.

Remodeling Projects That Help You Breath Easy

Spring is here and with warmer weather comes the itch to clean, organize and remodel our home!  My husband loves a good project, so we have plenty of experience.  But some of our concerns are usually how much it will cost, how long it will take us and because of our little ones running around, how safe it will be!?

If you are doing a remodel there are plenty of non-toxic and eco-friendly options so your home will not only look better, but the air quality will be safer for you and your little ones.  Here are some non-toxic options for a couple common remodeling projects.

Paint

Painting my sis room - the Colorphoto by: gadeeeer

Painting is one of my favorite projects because it is fast, cheap and easy.

The smell can be torturous though!

Thank goodness for all the options in low and no VOC paints.  VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds, which is what causes the smell and adversely affects the air quality in the room.  The EPA has shown that when new paint is drying that the VOC levels can reach 1000 times that of outdoors…… how scary!  It is good to know you can get low/no VOC paints at all the big name home improvement stores, for less than $40 a gallon.  These paints come in the same awesome colors and finishes as the older style paints.  So you can transform your room from blah to ta-dah and feel good about it.

 

Flooring

The Path Less Travelledphoto by: vek

A new floor can make your room look luxurious and feel great.  But the off gases can literally make you sick.

Off gases are, basically, the release of toxic chemicals in to the air.   If you are in love with the fluff of carpet you can go with wool carpet and a felt padding, but don’t expect it to be a cost-effective option. You can spend up to $2500 for a living room of wool carpet.

If wood is your love you can opt for reclaimed wood, but the price on this depends on if you reclaim it yourself or have professionals do it for you.  I even read that linoleum is an eco-friendly option.

“Natural linoleum produces no toxic off-gassing. True linoleum is made from pine rosin, sawdust, cork dust, limestone and natural pigments. These all combined with linseed oil (from flax seeds) and matted to jute backing. Linseed oil has natural antibacterial properties which may give added benefit. Linoleum can also be used for desktops and table surfaces.”  Greener Building

Keep in mind there is a difference between vinyl flooring, which is sometimes called linoleum, and true linoleum, so do your homework! Linoleum is relatively inexpensive, ranging from $4 to $7 a square foot.

So next time you get an itch to revamp your living room, feel good and breath good knowing you can spruce things up without hurting your pocketbook or your lungs!

For more information on products for home renovation: Environmental Protection Agency