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Oatmeal Thumbprint Cookies

#OatmealCookies #FallFavorite #Cookies via My Very Educated Mother

What a crazy weekend! Is everyone else in the full fall swing yet? This time of year makes me crave cookies and comfort food. So this week I’m going to be sharing this cookie recipe (a new concoction I just came up with), a cookie round-up, and I’ll be ending the week with a comfort food the whole family can appreciate using everyone’s favorite brand of soup!

Oatmeal Thumbprint Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut oil (can be substituted with butter or margarine)
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 4 cups oats (I used old fashion)
  • 1 pint of apple butter, jelly, or jam of your liking

Preheat oven to 375 degrees  Fahrenheit. Mix half of the flour with the coconut oil, sugar, honey, eggs, baking powder, vanilla, baking soda, and cinnamon. After it’s combined add in the remaining flour followed by the oats.

Roll into 1 inch balls, mine might have been closer to 1 1/2 inches, place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart, and then carefully push your thumb into the centers to create an indention. Fill with about a teaspoon of butter, jam, or jelly.

Bake for 12 minutes or until bottoms are just brown. Remove from cookie sheets and cool on a wire rack.

#oatmealcookies #fallfavorite #cookies #baking  via My Very Educated Mother
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Erin Sipes
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Kids Craft: Columbus Day Spice Drawing

I recently read an article that said an entirely embarrassing amount of grown Americans actually believe that Columbus set out to prove the world was round and happened to find the Americas. Ugh, I’m hoping all my readers know that Columbus, like most explorers of his time, was in search of a western trade route to India and China. And to celebrate Columbus Day this year I decided to forgo the usual ‘ship’ crafts well kind of…we are coloring ships BUT in a nod to the spice routes Columbus and others were in search of, we raided the pantry for our paints.

  • Coloring Page
  • glue
  • paintbrushes
  • spices (I would suggest cinnamon or other milder scents you don’t mind smelling for a few days.)

For our coloring page I went online and picked the simplest image I could find. Unless you have older kids I would recommend you do the same. There are a ton of sites out there, let your kids have hand in the selection.

#ColumbusDayCraft #Kidscraft #Craftingwithkids
Use the paint brush to put glue on one section of the picture at a time.

#ColumbusDay #KidsCraft
Sprinkle spices over the glue. Then move onto the next part of the image.

#ColumbusDay #craftingwithkids #kidscrafts
Things may get messy but you can sweep up the mess when you’re done.

#ColumbusDay #KidsCrafts
@mvemotherErin - My Very Educated MotherErin on Google +MyveryeducatedmotherMy Very Educated MotherImage Map
Erin Sipes
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Craft Lightning: Halloween Home Decor

I’m always excited to take part in the Craft Lightning Challenges hosted by Angie from The Country Chic Cottage and Carolina of 30 Minute Crafts! It’s always a blast to see what everyone else has come up with and of course to figure out what I’m going to create! As always the only rule is that the finished product needs to take no more than 15 minutes to produce.

This year most of my Halloween projects have a markedly ‘kid craft’ theme but I really wanted to add more little touches around the house to bring in a bit of that spooky spirit. I’m a fan of using branches to decorate but I’ve never actually made the attempt to use them myself so for my Craft Lightning Super Spooky craft I decided to try these Halloween-themed branches.

  • Black spray paint
  • plain white, school glue
  • paper streamers in a Halloween color or your chose (tissue paper or ribbon could also be used)
#CraftLightning #SpookyEdition

First grab a couple branches from the yard. Right now we still have a massive teepee we’d made out of the few trees we’d cut down for the home renovations so it didn’t take me but a minute to do this. I did pick ones with lots of little branches and those I thought would fit the best into the vase I’d chosen. Next start spray painting! This literally took me less than five minutes to do three branches and that included dealing with a clogged nozzle.

Once the branches dried I brought them inside and went ahead and put them in the vase then set the time for another 9 minutes. During that time I took 3-5” pieces of the streamers and wrapped, gathered and glued them around the ends of the branches to create little buds. I managed to get 10 of them done and honestly I think I should have made them a little smaller which would have taken even less time.


I like the way the branches turned out and I plan on getting more to put around a large mirror and curtain rods. I’m not to happy about the vase though…there’s just something not meshing so I might try to find a silver one instead. Still, I hope this quick craft inspires you and I encourage you to click the link below to view other Craft Lightning projects going on all over the blogosphere!

P.S. The silhouettes on the wall are one of my crafts recently featured in the latest issue of Kids Crafts 1-2-3, be sure to pick up a copy, there are a ton of great projects just like that one you can make with your kids!

Erin Sipes
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ASPCA Gift Pack Giveaway

Disclosure: I was contacted by ASPCA to help promote the launch of their new site geared towards Parents, I along with one of my readers (selected during the giveaway) will receive a gift bag as part of this promotion. All opinions expressed are my own. 


We’ve all seen the commercials and cried, don’t try to deny it, even my 15 year old son admits to shedding a tear now and then when the helpless faces flash across the screen and that perfectly selected song starts up! But the ASPCA is about more than tugging on your heartstrings or sharing the abuse some animals suffer. Their goal is to fight that abuse before it happens. According to founder Henry Bergh the mission of the organization is, “…to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.” They do this by rescuing abused animals, working towards the passage of humane laws, and sharing their resources with shelters nationwide.

ASPCAParents launch

Most of us know the best way to fight anything is to go on the offense and work preventatively which is why the ASPCA has recently launched a new website for parents, and their children. The ASPCA Parents site features:

    • Activities for parents and kids that promote positive relationships with pets.
    • Resources that help parents teach their children about animal welfare.
    • Exciting news and information about products from their Corporate Partners.
    • Guest blog posts from parents with firsthand experience caring for kids and pets.

I particularly love the “Things to Do” section of the site. My kids are involved in scouting and a local homeschooling co-op so we’re always looking for fun things to do that support our community and get everyone excited. As any parent can attest, Kids+Animals=Excitement! The site offers a number of great project ideas to both help local shelters as well as ways the group can work to build awareness.

The site is also full of stories from other families, pet tips, coloring pages, celebrity interviews, contests, and easy ways you can help out the ASPCA such as joining Virtual Piggy! Virtual Piggy is an online site designed to protect you and your children while online shopping. From now and until the end of the year they will donate $1 for every free Virtual Piggy account that’s set up via the ASPCA. Follow this link to start your account today and help out the ASPCA

Gift Pack

As a special bonus to bring you and your little animal lovers on board the ASPCA will be giving one lucky reader an ASPCA Gift Pack which includes:

Sign up below using Rafflecopter. The winner will be chosen at midnight EST the following Sunday and announced on this post. I will contact the winner who will have 24 hours to get back in touch with me before an alternate is chosen. The gift bag will be sent directly from the ASPCA. Good Luck and be sure to visit the new ASPCA Parents website with your kids!

You can also follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with all the good work they do!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Erin Sipes
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Kids Craft: Fall Trees and Colorful Leaves

This is a great fall project to make with the kids because they get to use a part of themselves and it can easily turn into a full-fledged Art lesson. Introduce the students to the ideas behind Pointillism and artists, such as Seurat, who successfully used dots to create amazing works of Art.


  • good quality paper to handle a bit of paint
  • paint (red, yellow, and blue can be combined to create any number of colors)
  • cotton swabs
  • pencil & crayons
Start off by tracing your hand and arm. Be sure to line them up on the page. Once done color in with crayons.
#KidsCraft #FallCrafts #FallActivities #KidsActivities
The fun part comes next, just get busy using the cotton swab to create dots…I mean leaves.
#FallCrafts #CraftingwithKids #KidsCraft
#CraftingWithKids #FallActivities #HomeschoolCrafts
#FallCraftsForKids #CraftingwithKids #KidsActivities

Fall is such a great time to have fun and get creative!
Hope you enjoy this craft and be sure to stop by for more ideas!
@mvemotherErin - My Very Educated MotherErin on Google +MyveryeducatedmotherMy Very Educated MotherImage Map
Sharing at: Skip to My Lou
Erin Sipes
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PaperlessKitchen Review and Giveaway
Disclosure: Yay a giveaway! But before I get to that first let me disclose that I was given a set of Skoy clothes to review as part of this review/giveaway. That said all the opinions expressed are my own. Moving on…

Being eco-conscious has always been in the forefront of my life but in recent years I’ve gotten kinda lax. No, I haven’t bought a microwave or stopped recycling but I have shopped at the dreaded big box stores, used and bought the second cheapest cleaning products I can find, bought paper towels and plastic snack bags, and other little things I know better than to do but I have. Thankfully with this new little one on his way I’ve gotten the push I needed to return to my old ways and many of the ecologically damaging habits we’ve gotten into can be reversed with little effort.

Enter the PaperlessKitchen! I’ve sincerely fallen in love with this site. There isn’t a lot of fuss, which I like, just simple eco-friendly alternatives. Here’s the official description of their site:
PaperlessKitchen helps individuals, households, businesses, and organizations adopt greener lifestyles by offering alternatives to kitchen paper products, such as paper towels, plates and napkins. As a business with a social focus, we aim to raise awareness about how an individual's purchasing habits affects the environment, ultimately helping consumers reduce waste and curb the growth of landfills. By choosing our reusable and sustainable kitchen products, our customers protect acres of forests, reduce the waste that ends up in landfills and reduce their overall environmental footprint. is a sensible, fashionable, and convenient step towards sustaining our environmental future.
Awesome right? What’s better is they’ve recently but together a Back-to-School collection. I imagine if your kids go to public schools they’ve reached that point. The point when they decide they don’t like the school lunches and wanted to bring theirs instead. The collection features a variety of environmentally friendly products that make it easy for you to make “school lunches greener this year” such as green lunch bags, reusable containers, biodegradable and compostable silverware. Here are just a few of my favorite items from the selection.
3-Tier Recycled Cotton Carrier Bag - Plum Brown
The three-tier recycled cotton carrier bag with To-Go Ware 3-tier tiffin.

Ecoditty Snack Ditty Color Your Own Organic Snack bag
The Eco-Ditty Snack Ditty Color Your Own Organic Snack Bag
To-Go Ware RePEaT Bamboo Utensil Set Hijiki
To-Go Ware RePEaT Bamboo Utensil Set Hijiki

By choosing non-toxic, eco-friendly lunch items we’re taking one step towards teaching our kids the value and reasoning behind leading a conservative, green lifestyle.  It’s these little choices that have a lasting impact on our children and I know in our house, keeps us all accountable.

Giveaway Time!

We received the SKOY Cloths Deluxe Kitchen Set for review and one of you lucky readers will get one too! SKOY clothes are made from sustainable plant cellulose. According to the site, “each cloth is as absorbent as 15 paper towels…”. They’re also washable, biodegradable, and free of chemicals so they’re an easy way to green up your kitchen; the set includes 12 multi-colored towels divided up into three sets of four.

Skoy Deluxe Kitchen Set - 12 cloths
What set these towels apart for me was that they acted as both a dishtowel and/or a paper towel. My husband was the only one with a complaint and I don’t know if it officially qualifies as such, he jus wished they were bigger! In his defense, they are actually about an inch or two smaller than an average washrag and he has big hands.

Enter below via Rafflecopter to win your own set of SKOY clothes!

Also, you can use my special code, “mvemother” to save 5% off your order OR right now if you use the code “greenschools” you can get 10% off your order at PaperlessKitchen and don’t forget,

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Erin Sipes
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Kids Craft: Corn on the Cob

#KidsCraft #Corn #FallCrafts

Last week our local homeschooling co-op kicked off and this semester I’m teaching an art/crafting class for the second time, yay. I love introducing the little ones to different artists but this time I gave them the choice, Art or Crafts. The younger group chose Crafts and the older kids picked Art… thankfully. Coming up with two schedules was a little bit of challenge, there were so many ideas to consider!

For our first craft we made these cute and fun Corn on the Cobs. I liked that this craft required the kids to be careful with their gluing, though it was hard to keep them from eating the popcorn!

Erin Sipes
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Wordless Wednesday


Earlier this summer we found this egg in the middle of the yard. I told the kids it was probably too late for the baby but they didn’t believe me. Later in the day I discovered it wrapped in moss next to the tree with their swings in it. Today I thought it would be fun to share photos from the garden. Many of them are the creatures we’ve found. If you follow me on Instagram the Cardinal eggs might look familiar, I was lucky enough to get pictures of the chick after it had hatched. Truly awesome.

Erin Sipes
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Nature Box Review & Banana Berry Muffin Recipe

Disclaimer: I received a Discovery Box from NatureBox to review. The views expressed are my own.

While I was at the BlogHer conference this year I had the pleasure of meeting some of the folks from NatureBox, and sampling their super delish dried pineapples. I also got the chance to have a Discovery Box sent to me for review. Awesome! I’ve seen ads for some of these box delivery programs and I was really intrigued. I live in rural America. Unfortunately, that means I trade the peaceful, quiet countryside for very limited grocery shopping options. So the idea of having snacks, and did I mention they’re healthy, delivered to my door, um, yeah, sold.

The goal of NatureBox is to encourage healthier eating by changing your snacking habits. According to their website, the average American eats almost 25% of their calories from snacking. So what NatureBox does is introduce their subscribers to wholesome products that are carefully sourced, nutritionist approved, and minimally processed.

Each box costs $19.95 and always ships for free. You can pause or cancel at anytime and if you’re not 100% satisfied they’ll issue a refund. Plus, you can give the gift of NatureBox! Inside your box there are 5 different NatureBox snacks, about 15 to 20 servings. The products contain NO high fructose corn syrup, NO partially hydrogenated oils, NO trans fats, NO artificial sweeteners, NO artificial flavors, and NO artificial colors.

Erin Sipes
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Free Day of the Dead Printable

#freeprintable #DayoftheDeadMask #kidscraft
Halloween is such a fun time of year why not get started early with this Day of the Dead Printable Mask? I love projects like this because I can print it out, leave it on the table with crayons and markers, and let the kids get as creative as they want!

  DayoftheDeadcraft3 #freeprintable #DayoftheDeadMask #kidscraft
If you want to have a little fun yourself why not print this out on a sturdy cardstock, add glitter and sequins and bling it up!

Erin Sipes
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