Homemade Sugar Hand Scrub

There are many different recipes for making your own hand scrub.  Many people have come up with cute ways to package them, but my favorite “name” for it is Sugar Mama Hand Scrub.  Isn’t that cute?  I found it from Jessica and her blog, Craftinessisnotoptional.com.  I give her all the credit!  Check out her cute way of packaging it and her recipe.  This is my own recipe, in which I added and adjusted a few things…

Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups sugar (I used half regular white sugar and half organic sugar because it is more course)
2 TBSP kosher salt (to add some more course grains to it)
1 cup oil (I used olive oil from the Dollar Tree!)
2-3 TBSP Vitamin E oil (I used Target brand, Up and Up)
30 drops peppermint essential oil (I used NOW brand from my local health foods store, or you can buy it on amazon here.)

Directions:
Dump everything except the essential oil into a mixing bowl and mix on low for about a minute (or stir with a spoon).  Then add the 30 drops of essential oil – use whatever fragrance you choose…peppermint is very refreshing!  Stir again.  I chose to divide this up into small jars from JoAnn Fabrics (they were each $1.00).  You can use any container you have…just clean it out and load it up.  This recipe made a large batch…enough to fill about six of the jars shown in the picture.

If you are doing some kind of decorating to the jars, do that before you fill them.  I  spray-painted the tops to make them silver…and I used mod podge to attach the pink paper and then stickers for the writing…and also printed off some “directions” and “ingredients” and laminated those.  Do whatever you’d like!  For more at-home-spa recipes, check out our Kitchen Facials post!

Easy Duct Tape Hair Bows

My daughter chose a penguin-themed birthday party this year.  We were out shopping at a craft store and saw penguin duct tape!  I bought it but had no idea what we would use it for.  Well, in my classic-random form, I decided to make duct tape hair bows for the girls at the party literally 1 hour before the party started!  That is proof of how easy these are to make – and I think they are quite cute!

Supplies:
Duct tape
Hair binder
Ruler
Scissors

Instructions:
Step 1: Rip or cut a piece of duct tape that is about 6-7 inches long.  

Step 1

 

Step 2

Step 2: Fold it over on itself so it is now half that size (sticky sides together). 

Step 3

Step 3: The long way, make three folds, two on the sides folded up and one down the middle going down…confusing…so look at the photo.  

Step 4: Hold the middle together and tape together and crease it well.  

Step 4

 

Step 5

Step 5: Slip the hair binder in the middle, between one of the folds and wrap a piece of tape around it tightly.  

Random Acts of Kindness Day

The kids and I were reflecting over our fun summer recently, and I was realizing that my kids have gotten too used to just doing one fun activity after another for their own enjoyment.  Of course fun activities are a great way to spend our summer, but I wanted to encourage my kids to think of others.  To actually go out of their way to bring joy to someone else.  And this shouldn’t always include a big smile or thank you or hug from the recipient…that just imagining someone receiving something special from them is meaningful.  So, we spent a morning doing “random acts of kindness.”  I am positive that all of you can think of MANY more ideas…these are just a few.  Please, if you choose to partake in something like this, share with us what you did and how your kids felt about the experience.  My hope is that it’s not just a designated day for this, but that our children incorporate thinking of others every day. 




What we did this first time:
– We made little tags that said different things like, “Enjoy this random act of kindness” or “thank you for all you do” 
– Baked cookies and packaged them into small boxes to deliver to neighbors and friends
– Bought a ton of roses and delivered them to: the receptionists at our doctor’s office, grandma, a special friend, the parks and recreation office
– Left random (new!) diapers and wipes in public restrooms
– The kids each hid dollars in the toy section of the Dollar Store (in hopes another child finds it!)
– Picked up garbage wherever we went
– Left spare change in vending machines for a lucky recipient
– Bought food to donate to the food shelf

I am not sharing this idea to give myself a pat on the back for doing something nice.  I want to encourage others to take a few moments to think of some good ideas of how to care for others and take your kids on an adventure to brighten someone’s day. This was our first experience in designating a whole day with the kids for doing random acts of kindness.  I hope to continue these activities often, and encourage you to give it a try!

Easy Homemade Curtains

Do not be intimidated by this project. I am not a “sewer” (Sarah on the other hand is amazing!) I have a very basic, “beginner” machine that shakes the whole table when I am stitching. Everything I make has lots of mistakes and markings of an amateur sewer. So, I will be the first to encourage you to go for it with this project because it is simple and can help you save bundles on curtains for your kid’s room or anywhere in your home. Once I had all of the supplies ready, the entire project took 20 minutes from start to finish.

 
Supplies:
  • Curtain Grommets
  • Fabric
  • Curtain Rod
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Tape measure or measuring tape
Instructions:
  • Decide on your desired curtain length and choose your fabric.

(I purchased one pair of the basic Merete curtains from IKEA…($24.99) which are very large pieces of fabric. I fit them for the boys

largest window (Image to the LEFT) and then cut off the bottom. I used the left over fabric for this project (Image to the RIGHT).)
  • Do a simple fold-over-and-sew on the edge(s) of the fabric where you cut. Haha, sorry – that is not correct “sewing language,” but I told you that I am a beginner!

  • Purchase Curtain Grommets

(I found mine at JoAnn Fabrics and they came in a package of 8…there were some metal ones for $12.99 but I bought the plastic color ones on clearance for $1.97 (!) and spray painted them with my silver-looking-metal spray paint!

  • Spray paint your grommets if needed – let dry for at least an hour.


  • Use the template (if the grommet kit came with one) or just make a circle thatmeasures exactly the size of the grommets…mine was 1 9/16″ – take the template and mark the position for each grommet on your fabric. I placed mine 3 inches from the edge, and every 8 inches. Yours might be different, depending on your fabric and window size. Cut along the circle to create the hole for the grommet.
 
  • Follow the directions on the grommet package – but all you should have to do is fit it around the fabric hole, and snap them together!


  • Purchase a curtain rod(s) to fit the window(s).

(I purchased two Vagen curtain rods from IKEA…$7.99 for the shorter one and $9.99 for the longer one.)

 
  • Hang them up and enjoy!

Homemade Flower Vase

Flowers…they brighten everyone’s day, right? We have a little“problem” in our house…well, it’s only a problem for our budget. Whenever my 2 1/2 year old son sees flowers at the store, he wants to buy them for me! I LOVE it but that just can’t happen every single time. Anyway, I thought of this idea one day because I wanted to give flowers to someone and I didn’t have a vase I could just give away. Well, here’s a quick solution that can also turn into a little project for the kids! You can make whatever you want of it. Have fun!

 
Supplies:
  • Juice carton
  • scissors (a good adult one works best)
  • tinfoil (optional)
  • paint
  • hot glue gun
 
 
Instructions:
Cut the top off of the juice carton, wash it out well. This is the point at which you can do whatever you’d like. The kids thought of recycling further by using some used-but-clean, tinfoil to simply wrap around the carton, and hot glue it into place. Then they painted the tinfoil for a unique look (see the image below). That’s it! Have fun 🙂

Gift Wrapping Idea

I love this idea – it’s not mine…I saw it in a Disney magazine and had to try it and share it! Use old cereal boxes (or I even expanded to other cardboard boxes from rice, and other dinners) to be converted into gift “bags” for giving gifts! I think it’s especially a good idea to wrap books or smaller items that are difficult to wrap otherwise. Have fun with it!

 
Supplies:
Recycled cereal boxes or other cardboard boxes from rice, pasta, granola bars, etc.
Wrapping Paper
Tape
Scissors
Ribbon for handle
Hole Puncher
Tissue Paper
 
Instructions:
Cut out the top of the box (or simply fold the flaps inside). Wrap every part of the box except the top (make sure to wrap the top with a finished edge). Punch a whole in the sides and feed a ribbon through, tie a knot on the inside. Or use a strong strip of paper for a handle (pictured). Finish with some tissue paper to hide the gift!

The Art of Thank You Notes

A somewhat lost art and value I hope to teach my children is that of writing thank-you notes.  Especially after a birthday.  I used to completely write the notes from me, thanking family members for the lovely things they gave to my kids.  But lately I have been trying to include them in this process.  It may take longer, but the kids get it!  Make the notes fun with stickers, stamps, markers, etc.

What you need:
paper
colorful writing utensils
stickers
stamps


What to do:

  1. Ask your child what they would like to thank each person for.  Help with the brainstorming.
  2. Be the scribe for whatever they dictate.  
  3. Let them decorate the notes.  
  4. Mail the notes, and brighten someone’s day!

Gift Bags

Birthday parties abound these days and my daughter suggested we decorate gift bags for that added personal touch 🙂 So, I started keeping nice, white shopping bags with good handles for this. The ones pictured here have candy glued onto them because we were going to a “Candyland” party. Let your kids imagination run wild and see what you end up with!

 
Supplies:
  • Store shopping bag with limited design/white is best
  • Paint
  • Glue
  • Stickers
  • Glitter
  • Markers
Instructions:
Depending on the ages of the kids, discuss ideas or themes for the gift bags. Put on craft smocks and newspaper, and start painting. After the paint is dry, decorate with various stickers, glitter, even glue little things onto the bag, if desired! Make a little card to attach to the bag’s handle and have the kids decorate that too. Have fun!

Pressed Flower Cards or Bookmarks

April showers bring May flowers! We decided to extend the life of some of our flowers by pressing them and making cards and bookmarks. They make really cute little gifts!
 
Age: 3 and up
Supplies:
  • flowers
  • coffee filters
  • large, heavy books
  • colorful paper for bookmarks or cards (card stock is best, but not necessary)
  • glue
  • contact paper (I found this huge role at Target near the cabinet-lining paper)
Instructions:
 
  1. Pick several flowers to press, we removed the stems
  2. Put them between coffee filters or paper towels to help absorb the moisture
  3. Press between large books – place in a safe location so little hands don’t disrupt them 🙂
  4. Check on them in 1 – 2 weeks.
  5. Once the flowers are pressed, it’s time to make cards or bookmarks!
  6. Cut out rectangles for bookmarks or cards with the colorful paper you chose
  7. Arrange flowers and glue in place; allow to dry completely
  8. Once the glue is dry, line both sides with contact paper. Trim sides, if necessary

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