Friday, September 6, 2013

I have moved...

Please take a moment to come follow me at my new home... I'm Still Standing, I hope to inspire you on a daily basis for all things that relate to design and raising a daughter with special needs. Also if you want to get in touch with me about helping you create a fully inclusive playground like Hadley's Park please feel free to contact me or on our facebook page.
Best Wishes,
Shelley aka "the playground princess"

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Changes, introductions and holidays

I have been taking some time "off" from my site here and trying to decide what to do with it, it was my vision to use the site to kind of "coach" people who want to build a dream... but then I love writing about fun things to do with children... and then I thought maybe I would also use it to write about inspirational families... so that's what I am doing, all of the above and with that in mind...

A few months ago I spent a wonderful weekend in Philly for Bloggy Boot Camp and I met a bunch of special women some of whose blogs I have been reading for some time. It was great to meet so many women with such diverse backgrounds who loved to share their stories. I particularly enjoyed meeting women whose lives were similar to mine, thus the introduction to Sunday..

This week marks the beginning of the holiday season.  In the coming days many will celebrate Thanksgiving.  In December families will come together for Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa.  Each holiday involves its own unique celebrations and customs influenced both by family and culture.

In our home the holidays are influenced most by Autism.

If you visit our home you will not find a large Christmas tree in the living room lovingly adorned with ornaments passed down from my mom's tree.  There will be no lavish spread of food because the boys refuse to eat anything other than their normal day to day fare of grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade chocolate chip cookies.  The fireplace is cold and still on Christmas Eve because setting one is too dangerous around the boys.  Similarly, you will not find us loading up the car with presents and suitcases for a trek to share the joy of the holidays with our families.

Because it seems autism is not something they want their holiday to include.

Every year I go through the varopis stages of grief over the fact that my family chooses to not include my boys in their holiday plans. 

Shock & Disbelief:  
Why wouldn't grandparents want to spend the holidays with their grandchildren?  Even if said grandchildren  prefer playing with wrapping paper, long colorful ribbons, and loud obnoxious toys over sitting quietly in Grandma's lap while she reads them 'Twas the Night Before Christmas?  Christmas is supposed to be about the children and celebrating with them the magic and beauty of the holidays.  Why would grandparents and family choose to miss out on that?

Anger & Bargaining:
When the boys' grandparents choose to spend their holidays with their other grandchildren who do not have autism I am left feeling nothing but anger.  In some ways I am comforted in knowing that the boys do not know nor care why their grandparents are not visiting with us.  But I do, and it burns me up!

In previous years I would bend over backwards to invite family to celebrate with us.  I would plan out elaborate menus and wake up at 4 am to start the turkey in hopes of getting a couple hours in the kitchen before the boys woke up.  Family would come, eat, stay maybe an hour and then leave immediately following dessert.  I stopped trying to cater to their needs of my extended family after that.

Depression, Reflection, & Loneliness:
This stage seems to be where I spend most of my time during the holiday season.

I mostly feel lonely and a bit sad for family and all they are missing out on when it comes to the boys and how quickly they are growing up. 

I miss my mom something fierce too.  She was was the best damn Nana this world ever saw.  She was also an amazing mother and friend.  Before her death in 2004 you would find her spending every weekend, every holiday, and all her vacation time visiting her grandchildren and having fun with them.  I mourn the fact that she is not here now to enjoy her grandsons like I know she would have wanted.

Acceptance & Hope:
Eventually (typically somewhere around December 24th) I make peace with the choices my family has made in how and with whom they choose to celebrate the holidays. 

I focus on making the most of Christmas with my amazing husband and the boys. Mike and I sip eggnog, play Christmas music much too loud (which the boys love!), turn on the outside Christmas lights, break out the Scrabble board, and later we turn on The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas Special and we enjoy our grilled cheese sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies together.  Just the way a family should at the holidays.


Autism may mean my boys are different than most and that may mean that our holiday celebrations are a bit out of the ordinary as well.  But, ours is no less filled with love, a sense of togetherness and magic.

And if someone isn't up for celebrating the holidays with two boys who embrace those holidays full force and without abandon....then its nothing more than their loss.

Sunday is the frazzled mom raising two boys on the severe end of the Autism spectrum while living to laugh and blog about it at Adventures in Extreme Parenthood.  You can also find Sunday tweeting her Banshee heart out on Twitter at @ExtremeParnthood and on Facebook by searching for her name: Sunday Stilwell.
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's back to school with ETSY!

First I’d like to say I’m sorry I have been m.i.a for the most part this summer enjoying time with my family, but I’m back! It’s so hard to believe its back to school time!

I have enjoyed looking around at some wonderful Etsy shops and hope you enjoy them too!

I always thought it was cute to send a little note in my daughter’s lunch, and now you can send the cutest notes with sweet thoughts, and I guarantee you your children will love them!

photo credit: fancy shmancy notes

I just love these pencils and I am sure that if my daughter had pencils like this when she was in school she would never lose them! Lol

photo credit: maoiloisa

10 beautifully hand-wrapped #2 graphite pencils featuring bright pink and white plum blossoms, 5 on a pink background and 5 on a deep brown background. Each unique pencil is approximately 3.5 inches long (no eraser). Made with gorgeous, genuine Japanese washi paper.

The pencils come packaged in a gift box, and include a gift tag for easy giving. This set is perfect for teachers, students, writers, artists, party favors for guests, and more!

I used to hate mornings when I had to send a note to or money to school and I couldn’t find either paper or an envelope these notes solve that problem!

Whether your little one was sick, late, or leaving'll be able to let their teacher know.

photo credit: Bushel and Peck Paper's

Custom notes measure approx. 5"x7" and come in sets of 18
Printed on 110 lb. card stock and packaged in cello sleeve for safe shipping

photo credit: i'm ink pressed

These school money envelopes are time saving must haves.
Premium size A2 envelope
Dimensions: 4.375x5.75
sold in packs of 25

Check out this adorable “Pack Pack” as named by designer/mom after her inspiring 3 year old Carter (Toddlers back pack) Perfect for the little one in your life to carry around their own things to daycare or to the store!

photo credit: hb collection

How about a super cute and eco-friendly solution to lunch time.
The Farfalla Gialla Lunch bag is made with cotton fabric, oilcloth and Velcro closure!

photo credit: farfalla gialla

And of course now gifts for the “mom” of the student:

This ornament would make a wonderful gift for your child's teacher, or is your mom a teacher, or dear friend, or are you a teacher and want to add this to your Christmas collection.

photo credit: the untraditionaltopiary

The Perfect Place for Your Favorite Photos, Special Notes and Important Memos! Handcrafted Magnetic Boards Featuring Interchangeable Magnets and Ribbons for Endless Design Possibilities... Perfect for that first day of school picture!

photo credit: lanes frames

I hope this gives you some great back to school ideas for your family!
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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fourth of July Family Fun

Fourth of July means, picnics, barbecues, pool or beach fun, enjoy the fireworks and just all around great family time. Here are some great ideas for things to do with your children to celebrate the fourth.

Children’s Crafts:

Every barbecue could use some great 4th of July napkin rings! This is a great project for a patriotic holiday picnic. Have kids sit at the table and make the napkin rings while you man the barbecue grill!

What you'll need:

• 24" elastic cord, cut into 3 even pieces
• 20 red pony beads
• 12 white pony beads
• 8 miniature white pony beads
• 4 red miniature pony beads
• 5 blue star pony beads
• White craft glue

How to make it:

1. Thread one white pony bead onto a piece of elastic cord. Run the other two pieces of elastic cord through the bead as well. With all three elastic cords lined up evenly, thread them around and back through the bead a second time.

2. Pull ends to tighten so the beads don't fall off. You will remove this knot later.

3. Thread five red pony beads onto one of the elastic cords. Thread four white pony beads onto the middle piece of elastic, and five red pony beads onto the last elastic cord.

4. Add two miniature white pony beads to the cord that has the red pony beads. Repeat for the other cord with red beads. Add two miniature red pony beads to the cord with the white beads.

5. Add a blue star bead to each of the three elastic cords.

6. Next, reverse the pattern. Thread two miniature white beads, then five red regular beads. On the center cord, thread on two miniature red beads and four white beads. Finally, add two miniature white beads and five red beads to the last cord.

7. To complete, thread all 3 elastic cords through two white beads.

8. Carefully undo the temporary knot you created in step one. Add one more white bead.

9. Gather both ends of the cords together and tie them into a knot.

10. Thread a blue star bead on each end of the knot and loop the ends back through each bead as you did in step one.

11. Add some white glue to the holes of the blue star beads and let dry.

12. When dry, trim the ends of the elastic.


1. You can purchase specialty packs of "patriotic" colored beads that include everything needed here, including the miniature beads and the star beads.

2. Convert this project into a bracelet by simply using longer pieces of elastic and more beads.

3. Elastic cord is available in the sewing department.

Another great decoration for your table this Fourth of July are these adorable treat holders made to look like Uncle Sam’s hat. Fill with your favorite treats and give away as party favors at the end of the party!

What you'll need:

• Styrofoam cup
• Red and blue felt
• Red paint
• Paintbrush
• Silver chenille stem
• Scissors
• White craft glue
• Black marker

How to make it:

1. Place cup, open end down, on top of the red felt and trace with a marker.

2. Cut around the traced circle leaving a ¾” border around it.

3. Fold the circle and cut a slit in the center of the circle to allow your scissors to get in. Cut out the inside circle, leaving about a ¼” border around the inside of the trace line. Set felt circle aside.

4. Paint red stripes all the way around the outside of the cup, stripes should run up and down. Let dry completely.

5. Cut a strip of blue felt about 1.5” wide. It should be long enough to wrap around the brim of the cup.

6. Glue felt strip around the outside of the top of the cup.

7. Lay red felt circle on to work surface, black trace line should be facing up.

8. Line the lip of the cup with white glue and press down onto black trace line. Let dry.

9. Turn cup over and place on work surface.

10. Use silver chenille to bend into star shapes, trim where needed. Glue onto the blue hat band.

11. When everything is dry, fill with treats.


• To make our treat cups sturdier, especially if using outside, glue a heavy washer to the bottom of the cup.
• You can add handles to your cup by twisting to chenille stems together and poking through the sides of the cup and running over the top. This step should be done before adding the blue brim.
• You may also use white paper or plastic cups for this project.

*the above activities and photos are from Kaboose

Fun Recipes:

Red, White and Blue Salad

Tossed in fresh lime juice and garnished with mint, this combination of juicy strawberries, diced apples, and fresh blueberries makes a refreshing treat on its own. Spoon it over vanilla ice cream, and you've got an instant and irresistible dessert.


• 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
• 1/4 cup honey
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
• 3 cups fresh blueberries
• 1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
• 3 medium apples, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks


1. In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice, honey, and mint. Add all of the fruit and toss to combine. Let the fruit salad set for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Serves about 8.

Flavored Ice:

One way to make a splash this Fourth of July is by treating your kids to tall glasses of Patriot's Punch. Simply fill an ice cube tray with a red or blue fruit-flavored beverage (such as Powerade, Gatorade, or Kool-Aid) and let the cubes freeze solid. Then drop three or four colored cubes into each glass, pour in flavored seltzer water or clear soda, and watch the special effects. As the cubes melt, colored bubbles will swirl through the seltzer.


• Red or blue fruit-flavored beverage

Summer Berry Triffle:
This is heaven in a a dish!

Serving this traditional English dessert in a glass pedestal bowl shows off its impressive layers of ladyfingers, pudding, and colorful fruits. If you don't have one, a regular glass bowl will also do the trick.


• 1 package (3.4-ounce) instant vanilla pudding
• 4 cups fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries), washed and hulled, plus extra for garnish
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
• 1 cup whipping cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 24 to 36 ladyfingers


1. To make the fillings, prepare the pudding according to the package directions and chill it.

2. Slice the strawberries, if you're using them, then toss all of the berries with the lemon juice and the 1/4 cup of sugar. Set aside for 30 minutes to allow the berries to release their juices.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, whip the cream, vanilla extract, and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until soft peaks form. Set aside.

4. To make the layers, set a layer of ladyfingers (around 7 or 8) on the bottom of a large, clear serving bowl (ours was 4 quarts). Top with the berries with half of the pudding.

5. Add another layer of ladyfingers, another third of the berries and juice, and the rest of the pudding. Add a final layer of ladyfingers and berries. Top with the whipped cream and a berry garnish.

6. Refrigerate until you're ready to serve. Serves 8 to 10.

*the above recipes and photos are from Family Fun

Fruited Cheesecake Flag

Strategically placed berries make this rich, creamy, and indulgent dessert even more memorable. Cut into diminutive squares, the patriotic cake affords guests equal opportunity in their pursuit of the perfect summer sweet.

Makes 48 squares

• Vegetable-oil cooking spray
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• Coarse salt
• 12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
• 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
• 32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
• 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
• 4 large eggs, room temperature
• 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) blackberries
• 8 3/4 ounces (2 cups) blueberries
• 1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced lengthwise into thirds (optional)
• Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
• 12 ounces (3 cups) raspberries


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Coat a 13-by-18-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the long sides. Coat parchment with spray.

2. Sift flour and 1 3/4 teaspoons salt into a bowl. Cream butter with a mixer on medium-high speed, occasionally scraping bowl, until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly add light-brown sugar, beating until very pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture all at once, and beat on low speed until just incorporated.

3. Transfer dough to sheet. Use a large piece of plastic wrap to press dough into an even layer that covers the bottom of the sheet. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.

4. Bake dough until entire surface is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely in sheet on a wire rack. Raise oven temperature to 350.

5. In a clean bowl, beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed, occasionally scraping bowl, until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add granulated sugar in a slow, steady stream. Scrape bowl, then mix in lemon zest, vanilla and almond extracts, and a pinch of salt until well combined. Scrape bowl, then beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated. The mixture should be very smooth; scrape bowl as necessary. Pour over crust, and spread into an even layer.

6. Bake until filling is set, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in sheet on rack. Refrigerate until firm and cold, about 4 hours (or overnight).

7. Run a sharp knife along short sides of sheet, and use parchment to lift out cheesecake. Run knife under hot water and dry well. Use it to cut cheesecake into 48 squares, wiping knife clean between cuts.

8. Transfer squares to a serving platter, reforming the rectangle. Decorate top left squares (3 down and 4 across), placing a blackberry in the center of each square and mounding blueberries around it. Using a long offset spatula, slide out 4 squares from bottom row. Top each square with 3 strawberry slices, dust with confectioners' sugar, and return to rectangle. Repeat with remaining 4 squares on bottom row and then squares on alternating rows. Alternatively, omit strawberries and dust alternating rows generously with confectioners' sugar. Place raspberries on every unadorned row, beginning with top row. Serve immediately (or refrigerate overnight).

*the above recipe and photo from martha stewart

Great Etsy finds:

Fourth of July Pinwheels

Fourth of July tutu

Fourth of July Wreath

And for those who were born on the 4th of July a great gift

So how did you and yours celebrate the holiday? Hope it was great! Now go out and PLAY!
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Have kids online? Keep them safe!

Teen angel panel

On May 27 Sarah and I attended the Wired Kids Summit in Washington DC. This was not the first meeting on Cybersafety that I attended, and with Sarah’s “run-in” with cyber bullying I knew she too would want to see what this was all about. The meeting was primarily a summit of Parry Aftab’s Teen angels to gather and talk to cyber companies and share their experiences i.e. facebook, Google, MySpace, Xbox, MTV, Disney, Nickelodeon etc.

Teen angels are a group of thirteen to eighteen year old volunteers that have been specially trained in all aspects of online safety, privacy and security. After completion of the required training, the Teen angels run unique programs in schools to spread the word about responsible and safe surfing to other teens and younger kids, parents, and teachers.

Parry and Teen Angel demonstrating the "Stop, Block and Tell"

Teen angels was founded in 1999 by leading cyberlawyer Parry Aftab, Executive Director of - the world's largest online safety and help organization and 501(c)(3) corporation. Parry personally trains most of the Teen angels!

Parry Aftab is an Internet privacy and security lawyer. She also writes books and articles and was one of the first experts to focus on Internet safety and kids online. The Teen angels were born as a result of a TV special Parry did in April 1999with ABC News, in New Jersey. The special was about teen girl safety and Parry was asked to be the Internet safety guru for the special. Part of the special involved Parry speaking to teenage girls at a school in New Jersey. When the computer connection predictably broke down, the girls just lined up at microphones and fired off questions and that was the birth of wiredsafety.*

At the summit there were several panel discussions with the teens, the companies, and with the audience. I had invited several mom bloggers to attend and other moms who are active in their schools so that they could learn from this and hopefully take back some ideas for starting a curriculum on the importance of internet safety and cyberbullying.

Parry and Cyber Company Panel

At my last meeting I was blown away by the corporations that were showing support for this important venue. Two companies stood out big time to me and they were Build a Bear which is a store for younger children and teens who has devoted an entire section of their website to cybersafety and MTV who began a thin line campaign aimed at stopping the spread of abuse in the form of sexting, cyberbullying and digital dating abuse.

psa courtesy of "A Thin Line"

I’m still not sure what facebook is doing to promote internet safety as well as gaming companies such as XBox. Facebook does have a place to report bullying but after my daughters experience I’m still a bit skeptical. A friend of mine who has 3 boys who came with me raised the question as to why should there be “chat” buttons on games such as scrabble where total strangers can hop on and start chatting with your child or you. She told me she finds this entirely too creepy and I have to agree.

But the bottom line is parents need to be aware of what your kids are doing, which in this day and age where 50% of the population is of divorced families and have two working parents is very hard to enforce. We really need to get back to basics of really speaking to our kids and keeping the lines of communications open so that “if” they encounter any type of “bullying” or “weirdness” on the computer they can follow along what they Teen/Twee angels preach which is “stop, block, and tell a parent.”

Keeping our kids safe has gone from our backyards into cyberspace and we really need to be wise.

Some tips from Parry*:
Keeping your kids safe on social media
Protect your privacy on facebook
What you need to know about youtube

*Information of teen angels and Perry Aftab from website and
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's time for a Cinco de Mayo fiesta!

So it’s almost that festive time of the year: Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican victory festival observed by Mexican-American communities and primarily in Puebla, Mexico. This day celebrates patriotism, unity and Mexican heritage.

Why not have a little celebration with your kids, they will love it! Here are some of our family favorites!



• 2 ripe Haas avocados
• 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro,leaves chopped
• 1/4 medium red onion, diced
• 2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and finely diced (optional)
• 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
• salt and pepper freshly ground, to taste


1. Cut the avocados into halves and remove the seeds. Peel the fruit and place in a mixing bowl.

2. Have kids mash avocados with a potato masher or fork until chunky. (Good luck stopping them from mashing into a thin paste!) They can add the remaining ingredients (after grown-ups have chopped the jalapeños) and mix with a fork

Photo credit above:american feast dot com

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo crudités

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo and get your kids to eat their veggies with healthy crudités in the colors of the Mexican bandera nacional, or national flag.


• Pea pods or green beans
• Jicama, cut into strips
• Red pepper
• Green pepper
• Orange pepper


1. Arrange pea pods, jicama sticks, and red pepper strips on a platter as shown, then center a green pepper ring and the bottom of an orange pepper on top.

2. Set out your snack with dips in the same festive colors: green guacamole, white ranch dressing, and red salsa.

above photo credit from: Family fun

In Seattle WA there is a wonderful bakery called Trophy's and in the past they created a cupcake in honor of the holiday it's the Margarita Cupcake, a Lime Cupcake made with lime zest, fresh lime juice and lime oil topped with tequila and lime Buttercream and finished with candied lime zest and salt.Yum! I wonder if Trophy ships to DC...

above photo credit from: trophy cupcakes

For your Cinco de Mayo celebration, why not make your own pinata to add to your festive decor? Making a pinata is a great craft to do with the whole family. With just a few simple supplies and a little imagination, you’ll have a beautiful pinata in no time. Hang it up in the backyard or the park for your Cinco de Mayo celebration. The kids will love it! Here’s how to make it:


2 cups flour
3 cups water
1 balloon
Newspaper, cut into long inch strips
Paint, crayons, or markers
Colored crepe paper


1. Blow up a large balloon and tie the end

2. Mix the flour and water together until it makes a smooth paste

3. Dip the newspaper strips into the flour and water mixture

4. Carefully place the strips on the balloon until it is covered, leaving a hole at the top

5. Set aside and let the balloon dry

6. After the it feels pretty dry, place another layer of newspaper dipped in the mixture over the balloon and let dry again

7. Put one more layer of paper on the balloon – be sure you still leave the hole at the top

8. Now the fun part- when it’s completely dry, pop and remove the balloon

9. Get your creativity going and paint your pinata with different designs and colors

10. Traditional pinatas are made in a pointed star shape and have colored crepe paper from the sides and bottom so feel free to add some colored crepe paper to your pinata.

11. Punch 2 small holes in the top near the opening and string a large piece of string through the two holes

12. Fill your pinata (through the hole you left at the top) with candy, toys, or any other fun surprises. In order to keep the prizes/candy inside from pooling in one area, also fill the pinata with leftover newspaper strips or crepe paper.

13. Your done! Now you need a good place to tie pinata and a stick and and a blindfold.

If you are an advanced pinata creator, use your imagination to create a fun design like a flower or an animal shape. Try using thick colored paper filled with scrunched up newspaper and glue or tape to add any details to your basic pinata structure.

idea and photo from:Purple trail

Cactus ring toss

How To Play The Game:

1. Player stands behind the starting line and gets 3 large rings.

2. Player throws the rings at the cactus and needs to hook one of the arms to win.

3. If the player is not successful they go to the back of the line and lets someone else have a turn.

4. Take a picture of your guests with the big cactus

above photo credit: ultimate party shop dot com

How do you celebrate? Any ideas we'd love you to share them with us.
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spend Earth Day with your kids

photo credit: blog dot music notes dot com

Tomorrow is Earth Day --and it's the 40th Anniversary of the holiday. It's a great time to learn about our planet and how to take care of it! Here are a few great ways to share this day with your children.

Egg Carton Buggy Mobile
photo credit and idea: Amanda Formaro

This cute little egg carton buggy mobile is a time consuming project, but the results are well worth the time invested! You can shorten the time of this craft by making it a group project. Let each child make one bug to hang on the mobile and it’ll come together in no time.


• 18 place cardboard egg carton
• Scraps of colorful patterned papers (wallpaper samples, old greeting cards) or construction paper
• Acrylic paints: red, orange, brown, light blue, green, purple, yellow, white and pink
• Scissors
• 2 black skinny chenille stems
• 9 flat-backed heavy pebbles, marbles, or other object
• White yarn
• 2 heavy twigs or craft dowels
• 9 medium black pom poms
• 18 small wiggle eyes
• White craft glue
• Acrylic sealer spray
• Paintbrush
• Hot glue gun


1. Remove the lid of the cardboard egg carton and save for another project. Place bottom of egg carton upside down and paint two sections with each color noted above (i.e. 2 red, 2 orange, 2 brown, etc). Repeat for a second coat and let dry. Spray all painted cups with acrylic sealer spray.

2. Cut the egg carton sections apart. Trim around the sections so that all you have left are colored cups.

3. If using patterned paper, most likely the backside of the paper is blank. If this is the case, fold the patterned paper in half, pattern on the outside. Put a layer of glue in between and stick together. This will create a piece of patterned paper that is patterned on both sides. If using construction paper this step is not necessary.

4. Cut leaf-shaped wings from the paper.

5. Separate the colored egg cups so that you have two groups of nine cups, one of each color.

6. Turn one group of colored cups over, set the other group aside.

7. Squeeze some white glue into each of the cups that are turned upward. Place a flat-backed marble into each cup and allow time for the glue to dry. This will give each bug enough weight that they will hang nicely on your mobile and will cut down on the lines tangling together. It will also help the bugs to “look” downward so that they are seen from the ground.

8. Cut 9 pieces of yarn about 18” long each.

9. Onto each of the egg cup halves with the marble in them, glue a black pom pom to the closed (bottom) end. Now pair up your colored egg cups.

10. To assemble each bug body you will need a pair of the same colored egg cups, a set of paper wings, an 18” piece of yarn and your hot glue gun. Pipe a layer of hot glue onto the outer open edge of the egg cup with the marble in it, place the wings onto the glue, the yarn in the middle of the open cup at the top, and then the other egg cup goes on last. Repeat these steps for each bug.

11. Now that the bodies are assembled you can glue the wiggle eyes onto the black pom poms.

12. Cut the black chenille stems into 2” pieces. Bend the ends or twist them around a thin handled paintbrush. Put a dot of hot glue on the straight end and push into the top of the pom pom. Repeat for the other antenna.

13. Cut another piece of yarn about 12” in length. Crisscross the two dowels and wrap with yarn to secure, add a dot of glue to reinforce. Be sure there is enough yarn left over to tie a loop at the top to hang your mobile from.

14. Tie each bug onto the dowels, two on each ‘arm” and one in the middle. Stagger the lengths and tie in place. When you have them where you want them, trim the excess

Friendly Robots
Photo credit and idea: family fun

These friendly robots are more than just good-looking; magnets hold their features in place, making the 'bots the metallic equivalent of a Mr. Potato Head.

• Tin can
• Electrical tape (optional)
• Hardware, and various recyclables such as bottle caps, keys, etc.
• Hot-glue gun
• Strong disk magnets


1. Open a tin can with a safety can opener so there are no sharp edges. (If you only have a regular opener, line the inside of the can's rim with electrical tape.)
2. Empty, wash, and dry the can.

3. For facial features, arms, propulsion devices, and communication arrays, look for items around the house and at the hardware store. We used bolts, brackets, hinges, keys, wing nuts, switches, bottle caps, washers, knobs, and more.

4. Hot-glue the items to strong disk magnets.

Magazine Holder
photo credit and idea: Amanda Formaro

Don't throw away your kids' old cereal boxes! Turn them into attractive magazine holders with this handy Earth Day craft.

• Empty cereal box
• Scissors
• White acrylic paint or spray paint
• Light green and dark green acrylic paint
• Sponge or leaf shaped foam stamp
• Thin paint brush
• Sand paper or gesso/craft medium (we used Liquitex Basics Gesso)


1. Cut off top of cereal box. Halfway across top of box, cut at a 45 degree angle down to front of your magazine holder, cut straight across then back up other side at the same angle.

2. Lightly sandpaper outside of cereal box. (They are usually shiny, coated paper.) Alternatively you can paint a layer of gesso all over the box. Either one of these methods will help the paint adhere to the box.

3. Spray paint the box white, or paint on with inexpensive sponge brush. Let dry.

4. Cut out leaf shape from sponge or use a leaf shaped foam stamp.

5. Pour out small amount of green paints.

6. Use thin paint brush to add a swirled line all over the box, this is the vine.

7. Sponge paint (or use foam stamp) green leaves on front of box leading to sides of box. First the darker, for background leaves, then lighter for foreground leaves.

8. If painting more than one box, try to connect vines on each box so when set together they will match.

Mom’s Memo Board
Photo credit and idea: family fun

Get the message across with a repurposed cookie sheet.

• Non-aluminum cookie sheet
• Ruler
• Scissors
• Self-adhesive shelf liner
• Scrap of wood
• Hammer
• Large nail
• Empty can
• Glue (we used Crafter's Pick The Ultimate)
• Supermagnets
• Bottle caps
• Card stock
• Markers


1. Measure the back of your cookie sheet and cut a piece of shelf liner that's an inch wider and an inch taller. Stick the shelf liner to the back of the cookie sheet by peeling off one corner of the liner and laying it down on a corner of the cookie sheet. Slowly pull the backing away as you smooth the liner onto the sheet. Cut off the excess shelf liner.

2. To make a hole for hanging, place the cookie sheet over a piece of scrap wood and use a hammer to punch a nail through the center of the rim.

3. For the pencil holder, cut a piece of shelf liner that's about an inch taller than the can. Wrap the liner around the can so that the ends overlap a bit, then cut off the excess liner. Glue two magnets to the side of the can.

4. For the bottle-cap magnets, glue a magnet inside of each cap. Cut a piece of card stock to fit the cap, write a name on it, and glue it on top of the magnet.

Cooking with kids for earthday:

Photo credit and recipe: family fun
Earth Day Snack Bars

Chocolate: Africa's Ivory Coast is the largest producer of cocoa beans, the ingredient that gives chocolate its unique, irresistible flavor.

Coconut: The Philippines and Indonesia are the world's leading producers of copra, or coconut meat.


• 1 1/2 cups baking mix (we used Bisquick)
• 1 1/2 cups instant oats
• 1 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/2 cup softened butter
• 1 egg
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• Coconut flakes
• Chocolate chips
• Chopped dried pineapple
• Raisins
• Chopped Brazil nuts


1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the baking mix, oats, brown sugar, butter, egg, and cinnamon.

2. Stir the mix with a wooden spoon until you have a crumbly dough. Next, customize your international treats by folding in 1 cup total of the add-ins of your choice.

3. Press the dough into an ungreased 9- by 13-inch pan and bake for 17 minutes or until the center is set and the bars are slightly brown. Allow them to cool for 10 minutes before cutting. Makes 1-1/2 dozen 2- by 3-inch bars

Remember getting kids into the garden is a great way to introduce them to green living!

A fun thing to do on Earth Day is to go see Disney’s new Movie “Oceans!”

Disney's Oceans - opening Earth Day 2010

How are you going to spend your Earth Day?
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