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activity | The Green Beagle

Maple Syrup Taffy Fun Frozen Activity

Maple Syrup Taffy

Maple Syrup Taffy

 

 

I am sure we are all tired of talking about or hearing about how cold it is and how frozen we all feel. I say make the best of it! I found this super fun and delish science experiment that is simple for everyone…as long as your stove is currently working.
All you have to do is slowly heat up maple syrup and stir it slowly until it is warm almost boiling but you don’t want to burn it. Once the syrup is ready go outside and find fresh clean snow and pour the syrup in any shape you want. I saw some photos where people put popsicle sticks in the snow as well so they could easily remove it and have pops!
You can make any shape you want and share it with your friends! You could even heat up some chocolate or caramel and do the same to make pops even combine all 3!
If you want to find more fun cold weather experiments try Janice VanCleave’s Weather: Mind-Boggling Experiments You Can Turn Into Science Fair Projects (Spectacular Science Project). It’s not like we have a polar vortex everyday now is it!?

DIY Moss Bath Mat

Moss Bath Mat

Moss Bath Mat

 

How awesomely fun is this! You can create you own Moss Bath Mat that gets water from the steam in your bathroom as well as from you when you dry off! Make sure to place the mat directly outside of your tub or shower like you would any other mat. I think this is a great use of greens in the home especially if you are someone who isn’t good at keeping plants alive. I personally managed to murder a cactus that has been in my office for the passed 3 years. I think I need a lesson in not murdering plants which is why this mat is so appealing to me. I found this fun little project right here if you want to see the full article.

Supplies:
Plastazote Foam Roll
Scissors
X-ACTO Knife
Stencil
Hot Glue Gun
Assorted moss plugs

Directions:

1. Measure and cut two sheets of plastazote foam from the roll at 24-by-12 inches each. This plastic-foam material is what is used in making commercial moss mats, and is ideal for wet-dry use.

2. Lay one of the sheets of plastazote in front of you and place a large stencil in the center. It can be of any shape you want. Stick simple shapes if you are a beginner.

3. Trace the shape with a white crayon, since the plastazote material is dark in color.

4.. Cut around the shape tracing with an X-acto knife. Cut down through the entire depth of the material, and push out the cutout shape, leaving a perfect hole in the shape of the stencil. Do this as many times as you want on the material. Place smaller stencils around the large cutouts and repeat, as you please.

5. Squeeze a line of hot glue along all four edges of the second sheet of plastazote material. Layer the sheet with the holes over it evenly, pressing the edges together. This creates a single mat of about 2 inches thick. The top layer features perfect molds for filling with moss.

6. Moisten the top layer of the mat after it has dried for an hour. This gets it primed for the moss. Spray it with a fine mist of water from your shower head or a spray bottle.

7. Fill each “mold” in the top layer of the mat with your own selection of moss plugs, which can be purchased online or from specialty nurseries and gardening stores. Irish moss, Spanish moss and some forms of live sphagnum moss thrive well in these living eco-shower mats.

How To Build A Fairy House….Yes Please!

How To Build A Fairy House

How To Build A Fairy House

 

 

 

I wanted to find the funnest (for me) summer activity ever and I am almost positive I have done it. I am not sure if you can get a greener, more nature-esque activity that is any cooler in my book. I found this outstanding idea from a website called How To Build Fairy Houses. This activity can really be done any way you like. How fun would this be for a party or a school project? I think this idea can be used for many an educational reason but also for family time.  The materials are all from nature and as long as you are respectful of the surrounding plants and animals as well as the materials you collect/use you really can’t go wrong. Different areas will offer different options as will different seasons which make this project kind of really fun. Here is a list of materials that can be used:

Sticks
Rocks
Grass
Moss
Feathers
Seaweed
Seashells
Nuts
Pinecones
Acorns

Location:

Fairy Houses can be designed anyway you want. You can let your imagination go wild or use a design you have already seen. Find a quiet place away from roads or busy pathways. The base of a tree or the side of a rock are great places to build. Try to keep the house close to the ground to help keep the house stable and so a floor doesn’t have to be built. Sometimes you may find a special place in the low branches of a tree or bush if you are lucky.
Look for building areas in woods, beaches, meadows, and especially your own backyard! Use only natural materials to build the house. Try not to use anything artificial as it ruins the look and spirit of the fairy house idea. The idea of a fairy house is to look so natural that it is almost hidden. You never know what may choose to live in there! You could be helping a poor displaced animal or fairy who will forever be grateful.

Rules:

Be respectful of ALL living things in the surrounding building areas. Destroying nature to create your fairy house is not what a fairy would want and definitely not something nature would appreciate. Try not to disturb plants that are still living, such as ferns, mosses and flowers. Fairies are careful not to harm anything that is growing.

Have you ever built a fairy house?  If so let me know! I would love to see what you made and hear about how it happened.  If you haven’t here are some other books I found that also show you how to build fairy houses:

Fairy House Handbook

Fairy Gardening: Creating Your Own Magical Miniature Garden

Rainbow Waffles To Brighten Up Your Dreary Day

 

Rainbow Waffles

Rainbow Waffles

 

 

I cannot tell a lie I am a fan of rainbow colored almost anything! Meal ideas can be difficult for us busy people during the week. You can’t always cook new different things. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of color to add a some of pizazz to old recipes. I am also not above including edible glitter or some dust to these bad boys. I found this idea on tablespoon.com and I had to share it because rainbow waffles are something the world should have been doing long ago! I bet waffle maker sales will sky rocket now!

 

 

Ingredients:
2 cups organic pancake mix
2 eggs
1 cup organic skim or low-fat milk (non-dairy substitutes are fine too)
organic food coloring (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple)
whipped cream (for “clouds if you want them)
Lucky Charms (for the “treasure but not a necessity)

 

 

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, whisk together Bisquick, eggs and milk until smooth.

2. Divide the batter into six portions, around 1/3 cup each, giving a little extra to the bowls for the red and orange colors.

3. Use gel food coloring (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) to color each bowl of batter to your desired vibrancy. Whisk in food coloring until evenly blended.

4.Transfer each color of batter to its own piping bag and cut off the tips (careful not to spill the batter). You can use a spoon for each color if you dont have piping bags, just be very careful.

5. Carefully pour each color into a heated circle waffle maker to make your “rainbow”, starting with red, then orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Cook according to waffle maker instructions.

6. Remove, and repeat with remaining batter. Cut each waffle in half.

7. Serve with whipped cream for “clouds” and Lucky Charms as the “treasure” at the end of the rainbow you can also serve it a bowl of fruit or any desired cereal.

Holiday Cone Dessert

 

Perfect little snack for the holidays! You can whip up a few quickly and have fun decorating.  You can add cookie crumbs, edible glitter, cake bits anything you want to make these super cute desserts your own!  This is yet another treat that would be a great party activity or even a family one.  Everyone buys candy over the holidays so make it useful.  Add candy canes or chocolate even! Try dipping the bugles in chocolate first and after you are finished and the cones have been made drizzle them with carmel! Have fun with it.

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1-1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
1 package (6 ounces) General Mills Bugles
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted, optional
Assorted colored and chocolate sprinkles and/or ground nuts

 

 

Directions:
1. In a small mix  bowl, cream butter and sugar until the mixture is  light and fluffy.
2. Next beat in the salt and vanilla vanilla extract.
3. Add condensed milk and make sure to mix well (mixture will get stiff).
5. Shape the mixture into  into 1/2-in. balls approximately. You can use a melon baller too if that helps
6. Place one ball on top of each Bugle. Dip the tops of some or all in melted chocolate if desired.
7. Decorate at your own will.
Makes: 2-1/2 dozen.

Source: tasteofhome.com

Being Thankful 2012

Ethical Thanksgiving

Ethical Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is almost here and I am beyond excited. This is a great time for the family to get together and spend time. I feel like we get so consumed with cooking and entertaining that we forget to just be thankful. I know you have all of these options to buy less, cook less, use less, recycle more, reuse and reduce but what about remembering what this pretend holiday was invented for. In all of the confusion and orders we forget to be thankful for all of the good we have. We forget that we are lucky enough to have a holiday devoted to being thankful where that option is valid for us.
I know I can sit here and tell you all of the wonderful ways you can be green and save our environment but what I think we all forget is the spirit of tomorrow and what we can all do to be thankful.
Be glad you have people to spend the holiday with. Be happy you have food to enjoy and most of all enjoy the memories that Thanksgiving will create. Those are things that stay with you and what make holidays worth having. Even if your family annoys you, stresses you, makes you cry they are yours and you can make the best of it. Be thankful this year for everything you do have and for anything you want to have or be.

Crayon Drip Pumpkin

Crayon Dripped Pumpkin

Crayon Drip Pumpkin

 

I love making my own decorations especially if I can reuse them year after year and for more than one occasion. You may have real or fake pumpkins left over from Halloween so why not put them to good use. If you have crayons that have about had it and are looking for something to do with them this is the perfect project for you and your family. This is a great project for schools or parties as well.  Here are two examples on how to have fun with designs!

Crayon Drip Pumpkin

Crayon Drip Pumpkin

 

Supplies:

Crayons (if you have fun crayons like glitter or glow in the dark, multi color crayons)
Hair Dryer (or lighter with parents supervision)
Fast Grab Tacky Glue
Pumpkin orange or white (real or fake)
Towel, Sheet or bag to cover the area where you will be working
Decorations (anything you want to use to put your personal touch to the craft)

Directions:

1. Make sure to remove all labels from the crayons as they will not be helpful as the crayons are being melted.
2. Make sure the pumpkin is clean and isn’t spoiling. You don’t want to spend time decorating it for it to go bad after your hard work.
3. Cover the area you are working on with a cloth to make sure you don’t drip on anything important.
4. Break crayons in half, you won’t need a whole crayon for 1 pumpkin.
5. Glue the crayons to the top of the pumpkin, they may not stay still otherwise, if you want to do a drip effect you can hold the crayon and heat it to drip in a pattern of your choice as well.
6. Once you are ready to melt go crazy! Make any design you want drip separately or together.  Have fun with it.

I always say get creative so if you have fun things you want to add to this craft go for it! Use glitter, buttons, broken pins, ribbons or anything you have been looking for an excuse to make use of. Add whatever you want to the pumpkin while the drippings are still wet. Glitter or even sequins would be fun. You could go get leaves, twigs and acorns. Make it your own!

Images from here and here.

Halloween Candy Tacos

Sugar Cookie Candy Tacos

 

This is a great party idea year round but since after Halloween you know you can get stuck with a bunch of candy you can totally make the best of it and have some fun. You can use these as a party snack for everyone to participate in or to have made and ready before guests arrive. You have plenty of options to switch up in this recipe for anyone who may have allergies or specific preferences.

Ingredients:

1 roll sugar cookie dough (you can use any dough you prefer ie chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin)
20 mini candy bars
candy pieces (anything that can’t be cut up)
1 container whipped white frosting
food coloring

Directions:

1. Cut the cookie dough into thick slices.
2. Press the dough into 2 1/2 inch circles on a floured surface or Silpat.
3. At 350 degrees, bake for 11 minutes or until golden brown.
4. Use a rolling pin or something round like a the cardboard part of a papertowel roll and immediately drape the cookies over the circular form and let it cool for a few minutes. The cookie will hold its shape once it has cooled.
5. While the cookies are cooling chop up the candy you are using to fill the tacos
6. Add food coloring to white frosting. You can use green to look like lettuce, red to be salsa, yellow or orange for cheese, keep some white for sour cream. Be creative.
7. Put a small amout of frosting on th inside of the shell to hold the candy onto your taco.
8. Sprinkle your candy onto the tacos but save the small unchopped candies for the top.
9. Add any other dallops of frosting you want on top of your candy bars.
10. Sprinkle the candy pieces on top of the previous layer of frosting to top off your taco.

**Instead of using cookies you can also make cinnamon & sugar tortillas but keep in mind you want your tortillas to be round so you can use small sized tortillas or cut yours into round shapes.

Build a Portable Golf Course

Build a Portable Golf Course

Build a Portable Golf Course

 

 

 

Since it is still summer and the weather is sunny and warm an outdoor craft is a great idea to keep the family entertained!  I found this spiffy little idea on one of my fave sites FamilyFun.go.com.  I think the portable golf course is the cutest idea ever! If you like it enough you can bring the course with you to parties to share with friends and family. You might even inspire them to make a course of their own.
If you are a teacher this could be an excellent project for your students. The children can make and decorate their own courses and get really creative with other things they have around the house.

Supplies:

3-liter plastic soda bottles
Colored tape
Markers
Cardboard
Cardboard tubes
Duct tape
Glue
Paint
Any decorations you want to add to make them more yours ie glitter, ribbons anything lying around the house that could be used as a decoration.

Directions:
1. Trim the bottom off a 3-liter plastic soda bottle, then cut out an arched hole (approximately 3-1/4 inches wide and 4 inches tall) in the base.
2. Use colored tape, paint, markers and anything you want to decorate and number the bottles.
3. Fold a 3- by 11-1/2-inch piece of cardboard around the bottom of a long, sturdy cardboard tube (like a wrapping paper tube or poster/document tube). Wrap duct tape around the two pieces to secure them together, then wrap the rest of the tube.

Conch Shell Succulents

Conch Shell Succulents

Conch Shell Succulents

 

 

I was looking for some summer crafts to do since we decided against our garden this year as our outdoor fuzzy friends refuse to even give the garden a chance and everything we have tried doesn’t keep them out. I still love me some greenery and didn’t want to slack while the weather is so nice. I have been seeing succulents and succulent projects all over the place.  After much searching I have found a project that I love love love!!
Since it is summer and I know everyone knows at least one person who goes to the beach regularly and collects shells why not make great use of them. You have used sea shells as decorations before but why not as a planter right? This is an excellent way to upcycle! You can give the the conch shell planters away as gifts, do it as a party craft or even save it for next school year for a craft project. Conch shell planters can make beautiful decorations for inside or outside of your home. You can brighten up your office even! Here is all you have to do:
1. get and clean a conch shell
2. buy a pot or if you already have a pot of succulents you can use them
3. spoon

Make sure your conch shell is clean and big enough to give your succulent room to breath. You can really use any plant you want if succulents aren’t your thing.  I am really into the look of succulents lately here in NY you don’t really see them very often as decor.  I really like the look of them and there happens to be a wide variety to work with. Use your spoon to gently dig the plant out by the roots.  Once the roots and plant are out add a little soil to the bottom of the shell to make sure the roots will be covered.  Add the plant then the rest of the soil.  Make sure the soil and plant are packed tight enough to not fall out and there you have it! Your conch shell planter is ready.  I have seen some crafts where you can add wire or twine to hang the planter which is also a super cute idea!