Monday, 30 April 2012

Cloth napkins and TJ's photos

A long time ago (about a year) we started using cloth napkins.  I had been gifted an interesting non-tear fabric that worked quite well for us, however it is also quite water resistant.  I do believe it was old nighty material and isn't the greatest for wiping hands at the table.  These are now moving to the diaper area for wipes or we may use them for our noses (must be sure not to mix them up).

TJ and I started another project together.  We selected some material scraps that were large enough for our napkins (I measured a cocktail napkin at about 10 inches).  I decided to make them double sided for ease of sewing and durability. Our fabrics are flannel/old receiving blankets and cotton scraps from other projects.

To make these napkins:
Cut out two pieces of fabric about 10.5inches square
With right sides together sew around the square leaving a small opening
Turn right side out
Machine or hand stitch the opening closed
Top stitch about 5/8inch in from the edge

While I was working TJ decided to use the camera.  I am curious about his angles and what he sees.

His shirt

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Community Garden Plot

My older sister, the boys and I are working together on a community garden plot!  The church up the street from us has over two dozen garden plots that are being prepared for gardeners around the community.

Today was a work day to set up the new garden plots and add dirt to top up the older ones from last year. The boys and I headed over to meet some new people and lend a hand.
I was so proud of them as they dug in the dirt for almost 1.5 hour.  TJ had his own big shovel and helped to smooth out the mounds in several plots. After a while with a sand shovel MJ took my big shovel to help out too!
We'll be visiting again to rake our plot and plan out the garden.  Stay tuned as we watch our little garden grown.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Jello play dough

We made some jello play dough using a recipe from  We used raspberry and it turned out to be quite vibrant!

Jello Playdough Recipe 

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • Three ounces of jello – any flavor you wish
  • Combine ingredients.
  • Cook over medium heat until it thickens.
  • Knead until cool enough to touch.
  • Enjoy your jellodough!

The boys used different nature objects to make prints before the traditional plastic toys came out.  Their concentration was incredible.  TJ was so exciting with all the prints his objects were making.

I'm linked up to:

Friday, 20 April 2012

Happy Earth Day

 I have gone through my blog to gather up all our recycled/upcycled and Earth friendly projects for inspiration.

We don't have any specific plans for Earth Day this year so please leave me a comment if you have any suggestions.

Recycled Art Wrapping Paper
Free Crafty Fun
Melted Crayon Art
Bird Feeders
Playing with recycling
Fabric Roads
Earth Day Flowers
Nature Treasure Hunt
Nature Table
Nature Crafts
Nature Wreaths
For all of our Upcycled projects just click here.  I also realized that almost all of my sewing pojects are upcycled materials.  I think I may need to spend some time relabelling older posts to make sure they are in the right categories.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Cloth diaper tips

If you are using or thinking about cloth diapers here are some things I have learned along the way.

Make sure you as a parent like and feel comfortable using the diapers you have chosen.  You'll be changing them often.  For us I use cloth but my husband uses disposables since he can't figure them out.

Shake out the extra poop.  It help with the clean up

Get a diaper pail that works for you.  There are many systems.  We use a very simple pail with a lid that can lock on.

Every so often do an extra rinse with vinegar it will help to cut bacteria.  Baking soda added to the wash is also helpful.

Use soap designed for diapers.  We started with Claudia's Choice for all our laundry.  Now we make our own and it has been fine so far.

Air dry diapers.  Sun dry if possible.

Give baby's bum lots of air time too.

Make cloth wipes.  Since you are washing the diapers anyways it makes sense.  You can simple cut up an old shirt or receiving blanket or use designated wash cloths.  We diaper in the washroom so the sink is close by, but you could keep a spray bottle handy to wet the wipes.

Happy diapering!
My stylish diaper boy

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Our cloth diaper decision

When I was first pregnant I was totally grossed out by the idea of cloth diapers.  I mean who wants to store poopey diapers in their house and then run them through the wash?!  However once I met a few people who used cloth diapers I began to think again.  TJ suffered through many terrible diaper rashes and was extremely sensitive to comercial whipes.  When he was very young I began to make our own disposable wipes.

Our Kushies diapers
I had looked into a diaper sercive.  These can be an excellent option if you are interested there may be a few in your area.  For me it wasn't a cost effective solution since disposables on sale are cheeper still.

When I came around to the idea I was all excited but TJ was now into training pants.  We chose to go with Kushies because we live near the outlet and factory so I got a good deal.  They are also readily available at Walmart for a good price.  It only made sense because he wasn't having too many accidents so why keep throwing out rraining pants.  He also trained faster because he could feel when he was went and felt like a big boy in undies.
MJ looking so stylish
When MJ was born I started with Kushies again but was really wanting something else.  I tried making my own and using a store bought outer wrap but it was quite bunchy for us.  Not the wrap just my own homade liners.  I would have loved some of the fancy brands out there but the cost was way out of our budget.  Finally I discivered Cozy kids.  They are just like the expensive kind but not sold so commercially so the price was right for me.  THere are many brands that are like this so I suggest you look for something in your area.  We love our cloth diapers and I don't regret the decidion at all.

Cloth diapers can:
Reduces waste
Save money
Healthier for baby's bum

Come learn more about cloth diapers over at The Great Cloth Diaper Change and the Diaper Week Blog Hop and The Eco Chic.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Arrowroot cookies and a coconut

Arrowroot Cookies - from Company's Coming

1/4cup Butter
1/2 Sugar
1 Egg
1/2tsp Vanilla
1cup flour
1/2cup Arrowroot Flour
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/4tsp Salt

Cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir remaining ingredients together and add. Mix well. Roll 1/8 inch thick on a floured surface. Cut into shapes and place on greased sheet. Bake 350degrees until golden, about 8-10min.  These do not spread. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.

MJ measuring while TJ licks up the extras

MJ measuring

TJ mixing
 We also bought a coconut from the store to try out a new food for fun.  TJ was so excited that we were going to hammer it open.  He was all excited to use the coconut in muffins, which we did today.
Trying to get into the coconut

MJ checking us out

TJ hammering with his play hammer

Fresh coconut

Coconut bowl and cookies
What will we be baking next?

Friday, 13 April 2012

Ultimate Blog Party Welcome!

Welcome everyone to Raising Our Family. This blog is an eclectic mix of family events and photos, crafts I am working on, activities for the kids, faith moments and more.

About Us
You can find a lengthy version on the My Family page at the top. We are a Christian family living in Southern Ontario.  We have a family business called Integrity Fire and Control Systems Inc.  I do all the office work while my husband in the man in the field.  Our company is growing, praise the Lord, which keeps us busy along with two young boys. If the Lord is willing we would like to homeschool our boys, we blog about the many things we do during the day.  I am still researching and working on what our homeschooling adventure will look like.  At the moment we are moving towards a Waldorf inspired lifestyle (this journey is for another post if I get to it).   I love to do all things crafty so you'll see a lot of that in this blog. I encourage you to use the links along the right side and look around to find out more.

Some of my past most popular posts were:
Monster Shirt
Messy Rainbow Spagetti
My Favourites from this new year include:
Melted Crayon Art
Fairy Houses

The Store
I have been selling these adorable sock monsters on Facebook for a while now with great success.  They are designed to be a great stuffed toy that can also be used for the tooth fairy.  Our life is a bit busy at the moment because we are selling our house, growing the business, raising a family, etc... so I have not yet started an Etsy store. I hope to sell my upcycled creations and other unique items.  For now if there is something you like or think I can make, please contact me.

Thank you for stopping by.  Please leave a comment so I know you visited! Enjoy the party.

Ultimate Blog Party 2012

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Painting with different objects

The other day my husband was at work in a school and one of the teachers was clearing out some cupboards.  She was going to get rid of a box of paint.  Luckily for us my wonderful hubby offered to take them home to us!!  This morning TJ woke up and immediately wanted to paint.  After I had a chance to get organized for the day we did get painting.

Today we tried to experiment with different objects: tree block, dried grasses, moss, cookie cutters, whisk, feathers, spatula, string, and our hands.

 All our painting is usually done with little clothing or smocks (why get the smock dirty when you can just have a bath after).  We also end once the paint leaves the paper and the activity turns to body painting, unless we are outside in the summer.

Today I was really trying hard to develop a rhythm (schedule) for the day.  I'm starting to get the hang of it now.  I have been incorporating poems and songs to help with transitions.  We even had a little circle time.

I'd love to hear if you have a favourite verse, poem or song that you share with your kids.
Your comments are so special to me I can't tell you how much I love to hear from you!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Blogging parties and challenges

I am very excited about participating in two very cool blog activities.  I will most likely be updating this post as I find more fun things on the blogging world to participate in.

First up is the Ultimate Blog Party over are 5 Min for Mom.  I participated last year and found so many new blogs to follow.  I also had many new followers myself (thank you to all), and I won a prize!!
Ultimate Blog Party 2012

Next up is the 2012 Stash Busting Challenge from Creating a Family Home. The idea is to use only the wool (or other craft supplies) that you have at home and see how long you can go without having to buy more. I have a few knitting and a whole lot of sewing projects planed for this year.

Do you have any other fun activities to share?

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Happy Easter!

Wishing you all a Happy Easter! We had a wonderful day today with a visit from the Easter Bunny, church and dinner with my family.

This year I made Easter baskets for the boys knowing that other relatives would be blessing us with lots of chocolate.  I made some baskets for the boys and sun hats for the summer.  I already have some great ideas for next year from other blogs. The Easter Bunny snuck into my closet and hid the baskets somewhere in the house.  We were left with some photo clues to find them.
TJ's basket has a hat, crayons, game, gardening gloves, large laundry clips, and a Kinder egg.  He wore the gloves the entire day only to take them off for his snack at church. The crayons are for his quiet time with me as we are beginning some Waldorf curriculum I found online.  We made a fort with the large laundry clips too! MJ's basket has a hat, toothbrushes to share, paint and brushes, a Kinder egg and memory game.  The memory/matching game is made of fabric scraps.  MJ can't wait to get painting as soon as he can.

 The Easter bunny left a note with our stuffed animals explaining that he'd added to our baskets (TJ had seen the baskets and hats previously) and hidden them.  The boys followed photo clues left around the house and yard with stuffed friends to help along the way.  There was much laughter and shrieking as we ran all over looking for the baskets.
 After we found our baskets we sampled chocolate and played with all the goodies.
After nap time we went over to my parents.  The kids had a great time looking for eggs as did the adults. My mom hid some eggs so well there may still be a few to find.  she also left some clues for the adults to find some yummy treats.  Dinner was delicious with a lamb, ham, veggies and desserts.  The boys and I made a cake and sugar cookies.  We also made a special nest for the hard boiled dyed eggs we made the other day.  Now we have put most of the chocolate away from our reach and are waiting for TJ so get down from his sugar high (he also had a nap today so he'll be up later).

Happy Easter to all I look forward to hearing about your weekend.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Easter Weekend and Egg Activities

Hopping you are all enjoying your Easter weekend!

Today Grandma and Grandpa Scott came for a visit.  We did some crafts and went for a walk.  The boys loved their Easter treats and are still outside this evening playing with the little knit chicks.
Easter basket

Knit chicks in a knit egg

Fun and loud duck sound makers

After lunch TJ Grandma Helen and I made some resurrection eggs.  Basically you wrap bread dough around a marshmallow and bake it.  The marshmallow melts and the bun is hollow inside (like Jesus' tomb).  Very tasty treats.

Wrapping the marshmallow in dough

Dipping the buns in butter and cinnamon sugar
We also tried making these floss egg decorations.  My cousin found the idea for me.  To make them you blow up a balloon just a little.  Then dip embroidery floss in white glue and wrap it all over the balloon. Once dry you can cut the ballon and pull it out.  I'll update the post once our glue has dried!

So our weekend has just begun and is already quite busy.  The boys have been making some great memories of walks in nature, baking buns, cookies and cakes.  Lots of Easter treats and more to come.  In amongst all the festivities we are also trying to take time to read the Easter story, remind ourselves of the stations of the cross and celebrate the hope of our risen Lord!!