Recycling those holiday cards

December 29, 2006 at 2:52 pm | Posted in recycling | 8 Comments

Whatever holiday you celebrate, you probably got cards. These could come from anyone, including, but not limited to, family and your insurance agent. I have always just put them into the recycling bin at the end of the season, but this year I did something different. I looked around on the net and compiled some ideas for how to re-use them. This is a fun project for kids of all ages, a way to start pulling down the decorations, and a way to get a head start on your holidays next year!You take your cards and carefully remove the front from the back. gift-labels.jpgWhat we did is take Christmas and Yule shaped cookie cutters, or you could use Chanukah cutters, and if nothing else, jar lids, and then traced the shape around the inside saying. This was then cut out and decorated, if desired. We used some gold and silver glitter, and then hole punched it so that ribbon can be pulled through. Do not put the ribbon through now because these can be used for gift tags next year and your gift may already have wrapping (free wrapping) and you don’t want a smashed bow. All you will have to do is write names on it and attach. Then you have a sparkly and themed gift tag to brighten up even the most mundane present! If the shape is a long one, consider making it into a book mark. bookmarks.jpg Next, some of the more “plain” cards, we cut around the front image and again decorated them some if desired. If a person has written on the back side of the front of the card, gluing a piece of colored construction paper will cover it nicely. backs-of-cards.jpg

Now that you have this lovely card all ready, what to do, right? Well, you can use them to send as holiday postcards (we don’t do this cause we don’t send cards) or you can use them as recipe cards. So, when you make that batch of homemade play dough, or a loaf of bread, you can write, or print off on computer and paste, the recipe on the back side of the card and attach to the gift.This not only dresses up the present, but it also allows them to be able to re-create the gift for themselves. If you are a person who uses gift bags, you can even glue the card to the front of a plain paper bag to dress the bag up for the holidays.rec-cards.jpg

Finally, for the really pretty and ornate cards, we again used the front image, dressed it up if desired, and then we recycled scrap fabric by gluing it on the back side of the card.


You can also add that extra ribbon you didn’t use, or that came on a present, on the edge, or even crochet around the edges ( a great way to practice different edging techniques for those later projects). Anything to make it look super fancy. You now have a one-of-a-kind ornament. Again, this can supplement a gift, or you can give it as a gift itself.


We used mostly Freecycled paint, and cotton crochet thread to continue with the frugal theme. However, most of the craft stores have their Christmas and Chanukah item up to 70% off so you can purchase if you want without breaking the bank! To add to the fun, my kids enjoyed using the scraps of paper left over from all the cutting to make geometric (geometry lesson) pictures they glued onto (Freecycled) construction paper. Even our scraps didn’t go to waste! shape-cards.jpg

This project (or projects) can easily be broken down to child size time bits as you often must wait (dreaded four letter word to kids!) for paint and glue to dry. Doing this project also includes some of our home schooling lessons. While doing this we talk about recycling, consumerism, history (paper ornaments, ribbons, crochet), counting, and they also get some science in with viscosity of paints, and art in the color application and mixing. It also works on their fine motor skills and concentration abilities. I plan to put all of these in a small storage box so that if I find something I want to add to them during the year, I can. I also plan to start doing this with birthday and anniversary cards. So, I hope that this gave you a few ideas for things you can do with your cards. There are tons more ideas out there on the net, just look it up! If you want more details, let me know, I am full stuff ; )


Big boy red bed!

December 27, 2006 at 3:19 pm | Posted in recycling | 5 Comments

That is what Karma Boy calls his new bed! This is one of those times that make me feel so crafty, frugal, and environmental! dsc00936.JPG

I was Freecycled a captain’s bed and I got to work making it look like new. The chair you see in the photos was also Freecycled, so I painted it to match.

When Karma Boy was asked what color he wanted it, he picked “Wed!” so, red it is!dsc00942.JPG

After I got it painted, I used left over rope to make the handles for the drawers. He loves to unscrew the knobs on his dresser so I am hoping we won’t have that problem with the rope. I then recycled a pair of jeans to make the seat cover, and trimmed it with some of the rope. Since we usually buy Karma Girl gender neutral stuff if we can, we had an extra pair of sheets to use on the bed. So, here we are with a new look for our “big” boy! He loves his bed, but he seems so little in it to us.


A wonderful recipe sent to me from my sweet Viking!

December 23, 2006 at 4:16 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Make sure you read the whole recipe and have adequate ingredients

Christmas Tequila Cookies 1154074614m2u5pf1.jpg

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup (two sticks) butter

1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups dried fruit (dried cranberries or raisins)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
2 cups all purpose flour
1 bottle Jose Cuervo Tequila (silver or gold, as desired)
First, sample the Cuervo to check quality.

Take a large bowl. Check the Cuervo to be sure it is of the highest quality.

Pour another 4 ounces in a measuring cup and drink.

Turn on the electric mixer.

Beat one cup of the butter in a large fluffy bowl.
Add one teaspoon sugar. Beat again.

At this point, it is best to make sure the Cuervo is still OK. Try another 4 ounces, just in case.1161934292zracdz1.jpg

Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break two leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit, picking the frigging fruit off the floor.

Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers, just pry it loose with a screwdriver.

Sample the Cuervo to check for tonsisticity.Next, sift 2 cups of salt or something.

Check the Jose Cuervo.
Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
Add one table.
Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.

Greash the oven. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.

Don’t forget to beat off the turner.

Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the Cose Juervo andmake sure to put the stove in the dishwasher.

Cherry Mistmas.

The Chanukah Menorah

December 21, 2006 at 2:18 pm | Posted in religion | 1 Comment

41274059031.jpgThe Chanukah Menorah41274059031.jpg

Chanukah marks the miraculous victory of the Jews, led by the Maccabees, against Greek persecution and religious oppression. In addition to being victorious in war, another miracle occurred: When the Maccabees came to rededicate the Temple, they found only one flask of oil with which to light the Menorah. This small flask lasted for eight days. In order to commemorate this miracle, we light a Menorah for the eight days of Chanukah.

The menorah is called a HANUKIYAH. It has nine candle holders. There are eight candles, one for each night of Chanukah. The ninth is called the SHAMASH

The Shamash is used to light the other eight candles. The Shamash is lit first and then is used to light the other candles.

The candles are placed in the HANUKIYAH from right to left. But when the candles are lit, you light from left to right

Chanukah is a wonderful holiday of renewed dedication, faith, hope and spiritual light. It’s a holiday that says: “Never lose hope.”


December 21, 2006 at 12:19 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Thank you all for your e-mails, phone calls, and comments today! I feel so loved!

Karma child 1 seems to be fine now. She has eaten, starting with apple sauce, then mashed potatoes, and I knew she was better when she asked for a candy cane! We have had no further problems today, and we think it was that she filled up on to many sweets last night. I think she has now learned the “natural consequences” of over indulgence.  I have tried to disinfect every surface of the house just in case we are wrong. Thanks again for all the love!

Warning-possible TMI

December 20, 2006 at 5:30 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

So after a great day yesterday, which I will post on later, we got to bed late last night, kids asleep in their clothes. Only to be awakened at 3am by sounds of running feet and barfing. Karma child 1 has a stomach something. She spent the rest of the night throwing up. Then when morning came and there was no more barfing, then the uncontrollable diarrhea started. Now I am a person who doesn’t do well with strong odors, so this is hell on my stomach! I have been cleaning up gross stuff all morning. I think the washer is even going to rebel! She seems a little better in that she is eating some warm applesauce (no more latkas for you today Missy!) and is holding it down. So, if ya don’t hear much from us today, you know why. Now to continue disinfecting….

Stuck in my head

December 18, 2006 at 3:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Since Those Weird Homeschoolers posted this, has been stuck in all our heads. We sent it to the Divine Mrs M and she sent us this,

In retaliation for getting it stuck in her head. So, go forth and enjoy, may you dance your way through your day!

By the way, anyone who can tell me the lyrics to the cat song wins a prize. I guess the cat must be Canadian ; )

Guest Post from Reiza Mara

December 17, 2006 at 2:33 pm | Posted in religion | 3 Comments

 Chanukia with 3 candles for day 2

Chanukah commemorates the first war fought over the right of religious freedom.  It’s actually a minor Jewish holiday.  Since it falls around Christmas each year, though (it’s the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar which changes slightly every year.  So Chanukah can fall anywhere from late November through early January), it tends to become a bigger deal as it competes with Christmas.  There is, however, a great deal of spiritual significance to the 8 day period.  In the lessons of Chanukah, we find great strength.

Over 2300 years ago, the Syrian king Antiochus ordered us to worship the Greek gods.  Many refused.  A group lead by Judah Macabee (Macabee meaning “the hammer”) fought against the much larger armies.  Miraculously (or surprisingly depending on who you ask), they won battles even though they were greatly outnumbered.    

On the 25th of Kislev, the Macabees reclaimed the temple which had been destroyed by the Greeks.  In every synagogue, there is a Ner Tamid, an eternal light which always remains lit.  It hangs above the ark as a symbol of G-d’s constant presence..  The Macabees found only enough oil to keep the temple’s Ner Tamid lit for one day, but it would take them eight days before they could get more.  So they lit the light and miraculously, that small amount burned for 8 full days. 

We celebrate Chanukah to acknowledge G-d’s constant presence and to remember (and be inspired by) our ancestors’ dedication to Judaism and the G-d of Abraham. 

We light a menorah to commemorate the day.  Here’s a link that explains the menorah lighting:  

A menorah MUST burn to fulfill the requirements of the law.  You also should have one displayed in a place where it can be seen—a window preferably.  An electric menorah will not fulfill the burning requirements, but, you can have a real menorah with candles or oil on your dining room table and an electric one in your window (which is how we do it). 

And here’s an interesting note, Jewish women are to do no housework while the Chanukah candles burn.  I actually never looked into the reasons behind that until now.  So hey, I’m learning something new too.  Here’s what I found:

The reason is twofold.  First, the Syrian-Greeks were especially vicious to Jewish women.  Secondly, Judith (Yehudit) was instrumental in the Jewish victory.  She got a Syrian general drunk and then decapitated him.  I had actually heard the story before (it’s a favorite among Jewish Feminists), but I didn’t realize that was a reason behind the “no housework while the candles burn” thing. 

Chanukah is not for dieters.  We typically have lots of foods fried in oil to celebrate the miracle of the oil.  That means donuts and latkes ( among other things. 

You’ve probably also heard about dreidels.  They’re tops with a Hebrew letter on each side.  The letters are Nun, Gimmel, Heh, and Shin which stand for “Nes Gadol Haya Sham” or “A great miracle happened there.”   If, however, you live in Israel , your dreidel will have the letter Peh instead of Shin because the line translates to, “A great miracle happened HERE.” 

This link explains how to play and shows you the Hebrew letters :

This one tells you a bit more about why each letter means what it does:

Check this out.  You can play a virtual dreidel game:

There are lots of Chanukah songs, but the Maoz Tzur is really the Chanukah song to top all Chanukah songs.  Here are the lyrics:

So there ya go.  That’s Chanukah in a nutshell.  It’s not a major holiday, but even 2000 years later, there are lessons that are still very valid in our everyday lives.  The true miracle of Chanukah lies not in the candles, but in the perseverance of our people and the grace of G-d. 

Happy Chanukah!

December 15, 2006 at 11:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

11326334765cu52p1.jpgHappy Chanukah!

There seems to be some confusion surrounding the actual spelling of Chanukah. Part of the reason for this confusion may be due to the fact there is no exact English translation of the Hebrew word for Chanukah.

In fact we have received numerous emails requesting whether these different spellings might also be different holidays. So to help clear up some of the confusion we would like to present a number of the different spellings one might encounter.














While in the United States it is most common to use the spelling “CHANUKAH,” rest assured that they are all the same celebration.

Crocheting snowflakes

December 14, 2006 at 5:53 pm | Posted in recycling, simplicity | 6 Comments

 to-be-sorted-058-1.jpgSo, for personal gifts this year, I am making those I really care about some crocheted snowflakes. I am using Freecycled cotton and the ones I have beaded, I am using beads from a necklace I loved that broke. I figured this is a great way to share the love I had for the sparkely beads! I use colors that best match the person and their décor. So, personalized and environmentally friendly! What are you all doing to keep the spirit of your holidays, and still take care of the environment?

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