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{this moment}


It’s 8:40 p.m. on a Friday night. The kids are downstairs watching Home Alone with Nate, I just finished canning a dozen jars of blueberry jam-without pectin which was a new experience for me that I’ll have to talk about another time, and the house pets are sleeping at my feet.

It’s been an entire week since I’ve written here and I have no excuses and no apologies. Between the end of the year homeschooling, home renovations that never seem to end (we’re going on two months to put in ONE heating/air unit, guess who won’t be getting my recommendations), baby preparations-that are mostly in my head, and holiday shenanigans, I can’t find a quiet place to collect my thoughts and write. I’ve realized that despite my intentions and hopes to continue to come here, throughout my ‘maternity leave,’ with a craft, recipe, or even a simple thought is not going to happen.

For the next few months things are going to be a little quieter here in my little corner of the blogosphere. I hope you understand and don’t give up on me because I have a lot of projects to share with you. Be sure to follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ where my short attention span is sure to be more active.

Erin Sipes
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DIY Wrapping Paper

#DIY #wrappingpaper #kidscraft #Christmas #greencrafting

I’m feeling a bit wordless but wanted to share this great, recycled project the kids and I worked on so after a quick intro I’m going to let the pictures do the talking! -Erin

I save packing materials, just in case I might need it within the next couple years, and bubble wrap aside I love when I get boxes filled with large sheets of brown craft paper! A blank page is a blank page and when I look at those big sheets of paper I get gitty thinking about the crafty possibilities! But I’m in a purging/start new/clean out the closet phase and so this year we’re finally using my stash of paper to make our own wrapping paper by using paint sponges and a printmaking technique I shared over at Creative Cynchronicity this past summer. Here’s a photo rundown of how things went.

Erin Sipes
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DIY Wool Dryer Balls

Wool Dryer Balls #DIY #recycledcraft #giftidea #greenliving

For many months we’ve been using a homemade laundry detergent without fabric softener and we haven’t had static issues, but since winter is officially settling in I knew it was high time to either break out the chemicals or find an alternative. I chose the later and while looking around I learned about Wool Dryer Balls.
I had heard of them before but honestly thought they were only used to help the clothes separate in the dryer to prevent wrinkles and cut down on drying time. I didn’t realize they had another super power. The wool soaks up the moisture from the clothes and keeps the humidity level in the dryer high, helping to decrease static electricity. Awesome right! 

1 Supplies for Dryer Balls #DIY #recycledcraft #giftidea #greenliving
Since I had already set aside a few sweater to make wool diaper covers (to be shared at a later date), not to mention a skein of 100% wool leftover from another project, a box full of wool roving, and a drawer full of knee-high hose from my working days, I was more than ready to give this project a go. Here’s how I did it and what I learned.

This is a photo heavy tutorial be sure to click the Read More tab to see everything.

Erin Sipes
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Classic Holiday Decorating Ideas

#HolidayDecor from

Usually I’m all about holiday crafting but this year with so many different things going on, home renovations/new baby/sister moving to Germany, I’ve had a hard time getting in the mood. Thankfully, yesterday it snowed! After school work and a quick trip to the grocery store (before the snow), not to mention lots of pressure from the kids, we started working on a couple of holiday décor projects. Cranberries make for a classic holiday garland and coffee filters can quickly be transformed into pom poms with little fuss!

Cranberry Garlands #kidscraft #holidaycrafting
Esther was in charge of the cranberries and I realized quickly I need to get a needle in her hand more often. Baby girl did NOT know how to hold it or use it but after 30 minutes she got much more comfortable with it.

Coffee Filter Decor #recycledcrafting #holiday crafting
I have tried the fold and separate method for making pom poms numerous times and it NEVER looks as good as it does on Pinterest! In fact I usually end up ripping them. So instead I folded the coffee filter in half and then started threading them onto baker’s twine. To make the full pom pom shown I actually tied two together.

Coffee Filter Balls #coffeefiltercraft #pompoms
It’s not much in the way of holiday crafting but it’s definitely gotten me in the mood!

#ClassicHolidayDecor #kidscrafts #holidaycrafting

@mvemotherErin - My Very Educated MotherErin on Google +MyveryeducatedmotherMy Very Educated MotherImage Map
Erin Sipes
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Christmas Inspiration

It’s December? With the house almost finished, the baby nearly here, and all our regular responsibilities I feel completely behind on preparing for this year’s Christmas. There are so many things I want to make, and do, with the kids that I don’t know where to start! In an attempt to make the most of my time I’ve been hitting my Pinterest Christmas Board. It’s filled with a variety of Christmas ideas and inspirations, come see for yourself! (Bummer...there is supposed to be a picture of my Pinterest Board here. When I get back from my Dr. appointment I'll try to figure out what went wrong. Here's a screen shot until then.)


Follow Erin - My Very Educated Mother Christmas on Pinterest
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Erin Sipes
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Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals from the Paperless Kitchen

A while back I introduced you to the Paperless Kitchen, they’re a great site founded to help everyone adopt greener lifestyles by offering alternatives to kitchen paper products. They have a wide selection that helps make it easy to “green” your kitchen and do your part to protect our planet!

Beginning at 10 pm tomorrow night and running through to Cyber Monday, the Paperless Kitchen is offering 50% off the following items! (Use Coupon Code paperless50 for the 50% discount on that set of products.)


PaperlessKitchen Skoy Cloth Four Pack
SKOY Cloth 4 Pack
2-Tier Recycled Cotton Carrier Bag - Forest Green
2-Tier Recycled Cotton Carrier Bag – Forest Green
Thinkbaby Blue Bento Box
Thinkbaby BPA Free Blue Bento Box
Thinkbaby BPA Free Orange Bento Box
Thinkbaby BPA Free Orange Bento Box

Kids Konserve Butterfly Go Wild Waste- Free Lunch Kit

Kids Konserve Butterfly Go Wild Waste Free Lunch Kit
MyDrap Folded Cloth Napkins Bundle in Ecru
MyDrap Folded Cloth Napkin Bundle (20) available in ecru, black, red, and grey

They’re also offering 15% off all other products across the site during this 4 day special! PLUS all orders placed in November will get a free 4 pack of the Paperless Kitchen Skoy Cloths! Just click on the box below (pretty please, it’s my affiliate link) to get to the Paperless Kitchen site and do a bit of green holiday shopping for yourself and your friends and family!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Erin Sipes
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Grain, Seed, and Spice Filled Bottles

A while back I cleaned out my pantry and found entirely too many half-filled bags of rice and beans, shamefully out of date spices, and bottles of Torani with less than a teaspoon of syrup in them. Up until this past weekend I had then everything sitting in a “should just throw it away but can’t” pile on my kitchen counter. I was sure the kids and I could make some kind of art project with them. Hmm, what could I make with this stuff? It took me a couple of weeks of staring at the two items, sitting side by side, before I finally realized I should just put them together, duh. So we did!

Erin Sipes
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Make Your Holiday Food Photos Shine

Less than a week from today we’ll all be digging into our Thanksgiving dinners and chances are pretty good, before we take our first bite we’ll be snapping a picture or two. In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by Swanson, nearly 1 in 4 Americans will take or post a photo of their meal this holiday season. Just as they help give our foods a kick of flavor, this year, Swanson is also sharing tips that’ll help make your holiday food photos shine!

Tips from Swanson to Make Your Holiday Food Photos Shine

· Capture the Cooking Process – There’s no need to wait to the meal hits the table to start capturing your holiday food photos. Start with some action shots in the kitchen, like stirring the pots on the stove or pulling the golden brown turkey or Moist & Savory Stuffing out of the oven.  


· Choose the Right Serving Dish – Using a smaller serving bowl for stuffing or mashed potatoes makes the dish look full and plentiful, while taking up less space on the holiday table. Choosing a dish in a contrasting color helps the food pop.


· Add a Garnish – For photo worthy dishes, add a garnish of an ingredient that is found in the dish or that complements its flavors. For example, butternut squash and sage soup can be topped with fried sage leaves, creme fraiche, pumpkin seeds and even pomegranate seeds to add color and texture. If your dish features a signature ingredient like stuffing with cranberries, reserve a handful of berries to sprinkle over the top before it goes into the oven.


Erin Sipes
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Craft Lightning–Holiday Napkin Rings

#CraftLightning #Christmas #crafting #kidscraft #yarncraft
If you’ve been following along you may have noticed that every couple months I take part in the Craft Lightning series hosted by 30 Minute Crafts and The Country Chic Cottage. Guess what? It’s that time again! But, before I share my 15 minute craft I wanted to say thank you to both Caroline and Angie for all the work they’ve done over the years. They are two incredible ladies who have gone out of their way to provide countless platforms and opportunities for creative bloggers and I am very appreciative of their hard work. Now on to the craft!

Usually when the holidays roll around my attention focuses on ornaments and gift-making but this year I’m also looking towards our dining room table and thinking…napkin rings!  Surely the kids and I can come up with an easy napkin ring that takes less than 15 minutes to make, right?

Erin Sipes
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Monday Meme–Go to Work

As we all write our Monday to-do lists and look over this week’s calendar I thought I’d share a little inspiration.

@Mondaymeme #Inspiration #Gotowork
@mvemotherErin - My Very Educated MotherErin on Google +MyveryeducatedmotherMy Very Educated MotherImage Map
Erin Sipes
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No Ugly Christmas Ornaments Round-Up

As promised here is the ultimate collection of over 50 tutorials and project ideas that will ensure your tree doesn’t have a single ‘ugly’ ornament! Thanks again to all the great bloggers who’ve been a part of the No Ugly Ornament Series these past few years!

2011NUOChallenge #NUO2013 #Christmasornaments

  1. Wine Cork Tassels
  2. Paper Birds
  3. Mini Trees from The Sewing Loft
  4. Okra Spikes
  5. Magazine Ornaments
  6. Paperback Lion Ornaments
  7. Medallions
  8. Vintage Glitter Ornaments
  9. Owl Ornaments
  10. Crystals and Twine Ornaments
  11. Vintage Santa
  12. Paper Snowflakes
  13. Quilted Trees
  14. Martha Inspired Looped Ornaments
  15. Caged Animal Ornaments
  16. Stash Cans
  17. Paper Globe Ornaments
  18. 3-D Shapes
  19. Origami Dress Ornaments
  20. Felt Garland
  21. Citrus and Spice Ornaments
  22. Paper Trees 2012 NUOSeries #NUO2013 #Christmasornaments

  23. Paper Ballerina Ornaments
  24. Origami Elf Boots
  25. Paper Snowflakes (different pattern)
  26. Glitter Filled Glass Ornaments
  27. Mini House Ornament
  28. Snowy Wonderland Ornament
  29. Poured Paint Ornaments
  30. Childproof Snowflake Ornaments
  31. Paintbrush Santas
  32. Hand Stamped Ornaments
  33. Glittered Seashells
  34. Felt Snowflakes
  35. Family Frame Ornaments
  36. Glittered Snowflakes
  37. Jeweled Podgeable Ornaments
  38. Gem Icicle Ornaments
  39. Washi Tape Monogrammed Ornaments
  40. Sequined Ornaments
  41. Vintage Candy Cane Ornaments
  42. Paper Starbursts
  43. Snowman Ornaments
  44. Christmas Toilet Paper Roll Vignette Ornaments
  45. Fuzzy Christmas Owls 2013 NUOSeries #NUO2013 #Christmasornaments

  46. Christmas Vignette Ornaments
  47. Scrabble Tile Ornaments
  48. Gingerbread Salt Dough Men
  49. Shadowbox Ornaments
  50. Feathered Balls
  51. Salt Dough Ornaments
  52. Snow Ornaments
  53. Suitcase Ornament
  54. Painted Acorns
  55. Button Candy Canes
  56. Vintage Paper Ornaments
  57. Christmas Ornament Makeover
  58. Painted Glass Ornaments
  59. Faux Porcelain Flowers
  60. Easy, No-Sew Owls
  61. Book Page and Glitter Snowflakes
  62. It’s a Gourd Thing Ornaments
  63. Metal Washer Snowmen
  64. Mirrored Ornaments
  65. Scrappy Stars
  66. Wine Cork Candle Ornaments
  67. Christmas List Ornaments
Sharing At: Life Created, Skip to My Lou @mvemotherErin - My Very Educated MotherErin on Google +MyveryeducatedmotherMy Very Educated MotherImage Map
Erin Sipes
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No Ugly Ornament Series Day 5 Wrap Up

NUO2013 Feature

If you know my friend Heather from The Sewing Loft you know she’s an awesome seamstress but she had everyone in mind, skilled to beginner, when she came up with this Easy No-Sew Owl Ornament! Be sure to check it out and grab the free template she’s also providing!


Sometimes I like to challenge the kids with a project because everyone needs a challenge now and then. This Metal Washer Snowman from Cyn and Samantha, aka The Gagen Girls, looks like a great one for them to try!

Book Page Snowflake ornament I Onekriegerchick

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m a sucker for a book page project and this Book Page and Glitter Snowflake, from One Krieger Chick, is too beautiful not to make!

This was something completely new to me, I’ve never seen Gourd Ornaments like these make by Lisa from Stuff-Such. I love how festive and colorful they are and hope I’m able to find some small gourds at my local farmer’s market to make some of my own!

Today I shared these Mirrored Ornaments they were a take on the Disco Ball-like ornaments I’ve seen on Pinterest.

This has been such a fun week I’m sorry to see it end, but don’t worry the ornament love will still be going strong! I’ll be sharing a Round-Up of ALL the No Ugly Ornaments from the past three years next week so be sure to stop back by and if you haven’t already done so already pin the 2013 No Ugly Ornament Series page to have this year’s ornaments tutorials on hand!

@mvemotherErin - My Very Educated MotherErin on Google +MyveryeducatedmotherMy Very Educated MotherImage Map
Erin Sipes
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#NUO2013 Mirrored Ornaments

I can’t believe it’s the last day of the Series already! Here’s one more ornament to keep your tree from being ugly. Around Pinterest I kelp seeing mirrored ball but I wanted to try something a little flatter. So I created these Mirrored Letter Ornaments. They’re super easy and cheap, plus they give you an excuse to demolish any old CDs sitting around!

 photo NUO2013_zps3547e5dd.png


  • old CDs
  • old scissors – I say old but what I mean is a pair you don’t mind destroying
  • glue ( I know I have glitter glue shown but I ended up using a white crafting glue)
  • black puffy paint
  • cardstock

#NUO2013 Mirrored Ornaments


I started off by printing some of our family initials onto cardstock in a big bubble letter font and cutting them out. Be sure to use a hole punch to make a hole to hang your ornament!

#NUO2013 Mirrored Ornaments 1

Next, I cut up a few CDs, this wasn’t easy and I had pieces flying everywhere! I might try cutting them with an X-acto knife next time. After I had a good handful of little mirrored pieces I started gluing them to the cardstock letters.

#NUO2013 Mirrored Ornaments 2

Finally I used the puffy paint to outline the pieces and give them more of a stained glass look. You can repeat the process on the back or just paint it black. String them up and you’re ready to go!

Be sure to check back tonight for the last wrap-up of the week AND next week look for the ultimate Christmas ornament round-up!

@mvemotherErin - My Very Educated MotherErin on Google +MyveryeducatedmotherMy Very Educated MotherImage Map
Erin Sipes
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