Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Shabby Chic Fairy Wand

I have a kid who is obsessed with playing dress up. As soon as she gets home from school she is stripped down and digging in the dress-up drawer for a dress, crown, and wand. I decided to feed her obsession and create fairy wands for her and her friends at her 4th birthday party.
Shabby Chic Fairy Wand
This craft is rather inexpensive and crazy easy. I did have a lot of parent participation given this activity with with 4 year old kids.
What you need:
Dowel Rods
Picture hook (you know the round ones that come in a picture hanging kit with a screw end)
Fabric scraps or ribbon
Twisty Tie
And the ability to tie knots
Shabby Chic Fairy Wand First you take a picture hook and twist it into one end of the dowel rod. I found this rather hard, it took me like 15 minutes to get one in.  My husband on the other hand did the remaining 11 in like 10 minutes. Awesome, so my advice is to find your husband and have him do this step if you are making more than one.
Shabby Chic Fairy Wand
Take about 3 strips of fabric or ribbon and feed it through the hook then tie a knot in each. The 3rd piece may not even need a knot. Next you need to make your tulle poof and attach it to the picture hook.
Shabby Chic Fairy Wand
First take your strip of tulle and fold it up accordion style.  I used 2 scrap pieces (to create a multicolored effect) and when combined measured approximately 8" wide x 2.5 ft long. Do not strive for perfection when folding, you really just want a bunched up ball of tulle. Then, take your piece of twisty wire and wrap it around the middle of your folded tulle and twist to create a poof. Take the twisty wire and feed it through the picture hook and twist to attach.
Shabby Chic Fairy Wand There you have it, a shabby chic fairy wand.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cards in a pinch

I have been trying really hard this year to send more notes in the mail. I just love getting fun mail. It makes me feel special, that someone took the time out of their day (and spent 49 cents) to make me smile.  

Arrow Blank Card
                                                           Find the arrow card HERE.

To help you with making people feel special, I have two printable note cards to share. 

Geometric Birthday Printable
Find the geometric pattern birthday card HERE.

Print your cards on 80 lb white cardstock then cut to size (these note cards are 5.5 x 8 before folding).  Then fold your card in half. These fit perfectly in an A2 envelope. {enjoy}

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Homemade Chocolate Syrup Goodness

My family is pretty much obsessed with chocolate syrup.  It was one of the last items we go rid of when we started eating more "real." I knew my husband and oldest would not give up chocolate milk so I decided the next best option was to make my own. 
Chocolate Syrup ; http://paperclutch.blogspot.com

Honestly, have you ever looked at the ingredient label of your chocolate syrup in fridge? If you don't have a bottle handy, this is the list of ingredients.
Ick! I don't understand why the food industry has to make it so complicated when it can be so simple, only 4 ingredients.  

Chocolate Milk


1 1/4 cup Organic Cane Sugar 
1 cup Coco powder
1 cup + 3 tbs. Water
1 tsp. Vanilla


1) In a medium pot, mix sugar and coco together.

2) Turn on your burner to medium heat and add the water in slowly.  Begin whisking the water into the sugar/coco mixture. Make sure you get around the edges of your pot, sometimes the sugar and coco like to hide out and cling to the side.

3) Continue whisking until the sugar and water are well combined and the chocolate begins a low boil. Whatever you do, don't step away from your pot or you will have burnt chocolate, trust me on this one. 

4) Let the mixture boil for 1 minute. 

5) Remove from the burner and let cool for several minutes.

6) Add the vanilla and stir.

7) Transfer to a pretty little dish and serve or store.

Tada you have yourself the most delish chocolate syrup around. This keeps for a few weeks in the fridge. As long as little fingers are not involved.

Chocolate Syrup http://paperclutch.blogspot.com

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Kid's Art Display - DIY

I am obsessed with children's art.  I love the whimsical images, the wild concepts. Who wouldn't love a square cow wearing lace.
Kids art display - chicken wire But let me be honest,  as  much as I love my children's art, it has literately turned me into a hoarder.  These little gems are all over my house, in my car, and at my office.  I just have a hard time letting go {apologies for those who just started singing the Frozen song right then}.

The fridge could handle no more so I enlisted the help of my husband to construct a top of the line art display. 
Kids Art Display
Unfortunately, I do not have step by step instructions, but I will give you a brief overview of how he did it.

What you will need:
Frame - constructed yourself or purchased
Chicken wire
Heavy Duty Staple Gun 
Wire cutters
Clothes pins

What to do:

1) Construct a frame. We used crown molding found under our house.  Anything would work here, even a large picture frame if you don't have the tools to construct your own. I think using up-cycled wood gave the frame extra character, not to mention it was free.  I like free.

2) Flip the frame over and measure out how much chicken wire is needed to cover the back side of the frame.  Cut the wire to size, about 1 -2 inches larger than your opening,  then staple it on one short side and work your way across, making sure the wire is pulled as tight as possible when you staple. This was tricky. We were not able to get ours completely flat but it added to its charm.

3) Hang your art display.  My husband drilled that sucker directly into the wall since it was so heavy. You could also use picture hanging hooks if your frame is smaller.

4) Last but not least, add your little one's creations using clothes pins.

Kids Art Display BArtDisplayA Tada, you have a nice spot for all of your kids doodles. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Get real with your food

I am not going to tell you any miracle formula here, just simple advise for how to get started with "real" food. If you want more information on our families journey to a real food lifestyle check out our Foodie Mama Talks interview. Her blog rocks!

What is REAL food?
Real food is food, that the good Lord created for us to eat. Food that comes from the earth not from a laboratory created by a scientist.

Why should you care?
Processed foods are chocked full of additives and unnecessary ingredients that in-evidently are making us fat and sick. Did you know that today's generation of children may have a shorter lifespan than their parents. This is due to a growing rate of children with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. The American Heart Association states that Obesity among children "is now the No. 1 health concern among parents in the United States, topping drug abuse and smoking". (1)  Yikes!
We have to teach our children how to eat correctly, enjoy real foods, and take back our health. The best way to teach your children is by example, so put down that Big Mac and listen up.

Where to start.

1) Read. Read up on blogs like 100 Days of Real Food and Food Babe to start. Watch documentaries such as Food, Inc, Food Matters, Forks over Knifes, and Fed up.  Read a books,  Michael Pollen has a great one called In Defense of Food 

"Knowlege is Power" people!

Try not to get overwhelmed.  There is a lot of information out there and some blogs have a tendency to make you feel less than perfect, but don't get discouraged.  Take it slow and steady. No one can make a switch over night.  It took us nearly 3 years and we still aren't perfect.


2) Read ingredient labels.  Ignore the fat/calorie content and go straight to the ingredients. Understand what is in your food and aim for an ingredient list that is around 5-8 ingredients, that's it. Also, make sure you know what each ingredient is.  This habit will help you make better choices.
Here is a good example. Below are two packages of pita bread from Whole Foods.
The one on the right is their wheat version, it has only 6 ingredients, all of which are real food (whole wheat flour, water, honey, yeast, and salt).  The white version on the left has many more ingredients, some of which I cannot pronounce. Keep in mind that just because it says "organic" or comes from Whole Foods does not mean it is good for you, and considered real.  There is plenty of organic junk food out there.  Read your labels!

3) Say no to reduced, low, or no fat. Open your pantry and fridge and throw out any foods that are labeled fat free, reduced fat, or low-fat.  Even that pretty little yogurt cup you planned to eat for lunch, I mean it!

What is the big deal?  Well once the fat is taken out something has to be added to improve the flavor.  So the food industry adds sugar. Sometimes real sugar, other times the dreaded sugar substitutes. Ingesting a large amount of sugar can lead to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. (2).  Many people do not realize there is added sugar in almost all processed foods.  It is one thing to eat 4 donuts  in one sitting, but when you are unknowingly eating sugar for every meal your risks increase.
The bottom line is that if you want to eat something eat the real thing full fat yogurt and butter included.

4) Buy local or organic meat, eggs, and milk. It may cost more but it is worth avoiding added antibiotics and hormones. There are ways to cut the cost, simply reduce the amount of meat your family consumes. For example, our family observes Meatless Monday and we have left over night on Thursday nights so nothing is wasted.

To find a local farmer near you, search websites like: Eat Wild or do a Google search of local farms. Check out your local farmers market and talk to the people who sell meat, they may even let you visit their farm and hang with the animals.  It is easier than you think once you do your research.  For those who live in the Thomasville -  Lexington, NC area we get our meat from Crossings Farm 


5) Start making food swaps. Look at the foods your family eats the most, and start making a swap either by making it yourself of finding a better option.  If florescent mac & cheese in the blue box is a staple in your pantry, try an organic brand without the artificial flavors and colors. Or better yet, make it yourself.  Making mac and cheese takes maybe 10 minutes longer than using the box.

Hopefully these tips will get you started on a path a real food lifestyle. Remember, take it slow and don't strive for perfection but rather progress. You can do it!

1) http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/Overweight-in-Children_UCM_304054_Article.jsp
2) Stanhope, K. L., Schwarz, J. M., & Havel, P. J. (January 01, 2013). Adverse metabolic effects of dietary fructose: results from the recent epidemiological, clinical, and mechanistic studies. Current Opinion in Lipidology, 24, 3, 198-206.