My Very Educated Mother

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Kids Game: DIY Pick-Up Sticks

Thanks to a rash of unseasonably warm days we've been able to head outdoors more often this winter but if your home is suffering through a bout of cabin fever here's a quick DIY game you can make and play with the kids! 

Pick-Up Sticks is a quick and easy game to make and play with your kids! The perfect family game night activity!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Staying Connected with Walmart Family Mobile PLUS

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #DataAndAMovie #CollectiveBias 

I love living in the country and with the Walmart Family Mobile PLUS plan I don't have to sacrifice my solitude for staying connected. With 10g of data I can video chat with family here and abroad, keep up to date on all the social media trends, and take care of household finances and appointments. Follow the link to read more about this awesome new data plan! (Did I mention the free movie?) ad #DataAndAMovie #FamilyMobile

Even in the winter, I love living in the country. The privacy, the nature, the quiet; it all appeals to my introverted side. However, there’s one very ugly thing you should know about rural living. The internet service is…not so great and sometimes non-existent. In fact, most of my neighbors have ditched their landlines and switched to mobile mainly for it’s reliability. And there’s only one other thing as important as finding a reliable connection in these parts, and that’s a good data plan.

I use my mobile service for paying bills, taking care of household appointments, and keeping in touch with overseas relatives; not to mention my feeble attempts at staying up to date on all the blogging world’s social media trends. Is it any wonder I have been blowing through my data plan by mid-month. I’m entirely too cheap to pay for extra, so I was super excited when I was introduced to the new Walmart Family Mobile PLUS plan. 

If you run out of data before the end of the month you're going to want to check out this new deal, the Walmart Family Mobile PLUS plan! 10G of data PLUS 1 free VUDU movie, per line/per month for $...  ad #DataAndAMovie #FamilyMobile

The newly launched Walmart Family Mobile PLUS plan features Unlimited Talk, Text, and Data, which includes up to 10GB of 4G LTE, plus with a free movie on VUDU every month, per line for $49.88.  Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to or your local Walmart for current pricing.

The Walmart Family Mobile Display is easy to find inside the electronic department of your local Walmart and sales associates are always there to help and answer your questions! ad #DataAndAMovie  #FamilyMobile

After stopping by Walmart and visiting with a sales associate, I picked up a Samsung Galaxy Core Prime at an affordable price of $79.92 (Rollback from $99.92) and a starter kit for $25. Samsung is a name and brand I’ve grown to trust and it was nice to see it was one of the many great phone options for the PLUS plan. 

Setting up your Walmart Family Mobile PLUS Plan is so easy you'll be connected in no time! ad #DataAndAMovie  #FamilyMobile

Once I got home I laid the toddler down for a nap, opened everything up, and got busy activating the phone and setting up the account online. It was so easy and took less than 10 minutes. You know what that meant? I had the rest of nap time to play with all that data!

Stay in touch with family through videos and photos with a great data plan like the Walmart Family Mobile PLUS Plan! ad #DataAndAMovie  #FamilyMobile

Data for connecting with family members! Doesn't she make a beautiful Elsa? 

The Walmart Family Mobile PLUS plan has enough data for sharing videos on all your social media platforms! ad #DataAndAMovie  #FamilyMobile

Data for sharing a Vine for the blog! Did I mention the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime features a 5 MP camera and 2MP front-facing camera, perfect for all kinds of social media platforms! 

Enjoying a free VUDU movie with the Walmart Family Mobile PLUS plan! ad  #DataAndAMovie  #FamilyMobile

I can't remember the last time I watched a movie that I picked out. Call me selfish, but I think tomorrow's nap will be the perfect time for me to pull out the laptop and take advantage of the free monthly VUDU movie. Should I pick Bridge of Spies or Intern, hmm?


Friday, January 29, 2016

I've Been Moonlighting Over At Walnut Hollow!

The holidays are officially over! As I try to keep up with all the scribbles filling all the squares on the calendar, I thought I'd take a little break and introduce you to a couple projects I'd shared on the Walnut Hollow blog.

DIY Floating Bookshelf over at Walnut Hollow Blog! It's perfect for toddlers's books so that they can see the covers!

Last month I made this DIY Floating Bookshelf to help wrangle up all of Desmond's books. I'm all for traditional bookshelves, and the idea of a house without books leaves me speechless. BUT, this style of shelf is ideal for toddler because then they can actually SEE the covers instead of a row of book spines.

Cinch in your clutter with this Belted Wall Organizer via Walnut Hollow!

Earlier this week I also shared this Belted Wall Organizer. Habits are definitely hard to break, especially when it comes to clutter, but the stack of mail that used to drive me crazy has finally found a forever home and it is NOT on top of the piano.

Are you familiar with Walnut Hollow? Here's a quote from their website that really sums them up: "For over forty years, our company has been dedicated to bringing our customers the absolute best in fine wood surfaces, tools, and accessories for the craft and hobby industry." They are a US based company and you can find their products in most craft stores.

I'm really grateful for the opportunity to work with them and hopefully I'll be able to share more Walnut Hollow projects with you in the future!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Create Your Own Fruit Flavored Homemade Sodas

Make your own soda, it's a low sugar, more natural alternative, PLUS, it's so easy and cheap!

Let me say, while I'm not the kind of parent who bans soda, I do limit it for my children and myself. Like a lot of families I know, we save it for 'special occasions', which translates to about once a week. Sometimes though...nothing tastes better than a nice cold Coke, am I right? 

Still, I don't want my kids to feel as if they're slaves to their cravings or that they don't have options. So while I was wheeling through the grocery store I decided to grab a few blood oranges, a couple limes, a bottle of seltzer water, and sugar. Yep, that's all you need to make your own soda! 

PLUS, this is a great recipe to make WITH the kids! 
Keep reading to find out how to create your own sodas. 

Making your own sodas is a great chance to get creative in the kitchen with your kids!

First thing you'll need to make is a simple syrup. We mixed 4 cups of water with 2 cups of sugar over heat until the sugar had dissolved into the water. 

I'd always been told a classic simple syrup was 1:1 ratio, one part sugar to one part water. 
However, it turns out you can use, pretty much, whatever ratio you want. While our drinks were exactly how I wanted them, they weren't as sweet as typical sodas. If you WANT that extra sweetness I'd recommend the 1:1 ratio. 

Teach your kids to make their own sodas! It's an easy recipe and a great alternative to sugary drinks!

While we sat the syrup aside to cool we juiced our fruit. I want to pause right here and say no matter how menial something may seem it can become a learning experience if you let it!

We talked about looking at the rind to figure out how hard you'd have to work to get the juice out, feeling the fruit to see if it needed to be rolled and softened ahead of time, and how chilling the fruit effected how much juice you could get from it. 

In all we ended up with roughly a cup of fruit juice

Now is when I lost track of measurements, sorry. We poured the simple syrup into two bottles of equal size; then we added the blood orange juice to one bottle and the lime juice to the other. 

P.S. These bottles were from an older project I'd worked on using glass paints

We made our own sodas with fresh fruit and you can too! It's a great family activity!

Of course the kids got to label their creations! 

It's always nice to create healthy options for our family and to teach our kids how to make their own alternatives! These homemade sodas are just that, a great way to have a treat without too much sugar!

I know what you're thinking...this is syrup, where's the soda?
To make sodas, I'd recommend a 2:1 ratio between the seltzer water and the flavored syrup.

That was sweet enough for me, but I'm pretty sure the kids gave their drinks an extra swig of syrup when I turned my head. 

It's always nice to create healthy options for our family and to teach our kids how to make their own alternatives! These homemade sodas are just that, a great way to have a treat without too much sugar!

As far as I'm concerned Coca-Cola will always be a comfort drink, 
but it's always nice to have alternatives. 

Create healthy options for our family and teach our kids how to make their own alternatives! These homemade sodas are just that, a great way to have a treat without too much sugar!

How do you create healthy options for your family? 

Tell me in the comments below! 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Chinese New Year Kids Craft: Monkey Noise Makers

Looking for a Chinese New Year Kids Craft Idea? Here's a fun Monkey Noise Maker for the year of the monkey 2016!

Last year the kids and I had fun making sheep finger puppets to celebrate the 2015 Chinese New Year so I thought why not make it a tradition? This year's animal is the monkey and what better way to celebrate this wild and raucous creature than my making noise makers?

Using basic crafting supplies we were able to put these together in an afternoon; then we let them dry overnight before having a shakin', and very noisy, party the next day. 

Here's everything you need to know to make your own Monkey Noise Makers! 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Valentine's Day Kids Craft: Tissue Paper Vases

Here's a classic Valentine's Day Kids Craft for you! Tissue Paper Vases, I remember making these as a Girl Scout and in school. A great project that easy and quick!

Disclosure: I received product featured in this post. 

Today begins the Valentine's Day Edition of Craft Lightning! I've made a promise to the kids that this year we'll start actually making some of the projects on our crafty list instead of just adding to it. So, for this time around we decided to make classic tissue paper vases.

You can reuse old glass containers and tissue paper, it's quick enough the kids won't get bored, and the vases are perfect for filling with a holiday bouquet and giving to your Valentines.

Here's how we made them! P.S. We used a secret ingredient that helped up keep the tissue paper from ripping up!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Give Old Furniture A Fresh Start With This Cross Stitch Paint Technique

Give an old piece of furniture a "New Start" with this fun cross stitch paint technique! It's a LOT easier to do than it looks!
I received product in exchange for this post, opinions expressed are my own. I feel that I should also warn you this might get photo heavy.

This month I was lucky enough to make the cut for another Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest and in keeping with the new year the theme is, “A Fresh Start.” All contestants received a quart of Chalk Style paint from this month’s sponsor, General Finishes. They produce, “…award winning waterbased topcoats, waterbase wood stains, glazes and oil based finishes for your next home project.” This was the first time I’d used the product and I was impressed with the paint’s low fumes and depth of color.

Special Thanks to General Finishes for providing the paint for this project.

The piece I chose to makeover was a bookshelf in desperate need of help. When we moved into our house, eight years ago it was in an outdoor shed. We kept it because despite it’s lackluster (read dirty) appearance it was very sturdy and a great size.