Reusable Options for Disposable Household Items

Reusable Options for Household Items - vicki-arnold.com

I’ve heard it said that we live in a disposable world. So many people are caught up in the buy new cycle that creates a lot of waste. Heck, it’s something I fight sometimes. So I know there is some truth to the statement.

One of the best things to come out of the “green” movement is the awareness for reusable items that used to be common place, but are not anymore. Probably the biggest example is cloth diapers, but it goes far beyond your baby’s bottom.

Let’s look at this a little closer.

Reusable Options for the Home

Paper towels

You have a couple options here. We use wash clothes and dish towels for just about everything in our kitchen. The exception I make is when I have a leaky meat package, I use paper towels for that yuck.

For cleaning things like windows, floors, and bathroom surfaces, I use rags. I save old t-shirts, socks, and some types of knit clothing for this purpose.

You can also make your own cloth paper towels if you want something with a little more style. You have the option of making them look just like a roll of paper towels or you can go with another, super easy option.

Napkins

We don’t use napkins much at all in our house. I will put them out when we have guests over…and I remember that other people like to use napkins. We simply use utensils and then wipe up at the sink when needed.

If you need a replacement for napkins, you can use cloth napkins. They sell them in many home goods stores or you can make your own.

Swiffer Pads

Do you have a Swiffer? You don’t have to buy the replacement pads ever again if you make your own. I will likely use this for the Swiffer style mop I have, it’s not an “official” Swiffer, but it works just great for what I need.

Bowl Covers

No need to mess with that ridiculous plastic wrap to cover your leftovers or to carry your salad to the church potluck any more. You can make your own bowl covers. Bonus: they are cute!

Snack & Sandwich Bags

I’ll admit, we still use these. We use them in a variety of ways, but mostly for snacks or lunch items that are needed on the go. You can find a lot of options on Etsy for reusable snack bags or you can make your own.

Lunch Bags

If you don’t have a lunch box and use paper bags for lunch, you could consider switching to either a lunch box, small cooler, or make your own reusable lunch bag with this tutorial. If you are feeling all fancy-pants, you can even make your own faux gold leather lunch bag. Of course.

Grocery Bags

Reusable grocery bags became a big thing several years ago. Maybe it is our area, but I actually don’t see these that regularly. I don’t tend to use them except when I shop at Costco since they don’t have bags and most of the boxes load to be too heavy for me.

Again, you can buy some or make your own.

Produce Bags

Ditch those thin, ridiculously clingy bags for this breathable option. They are a DIY, but a pretty simple project.

Tea Bags

This was a brand new one to me! I’ve seen tea balls and other tea diffusers, which could be an easier to clean option, but these reusable fabric tea bags are simply adorable. You use loose leaf tea with these, you can find this at bulk herb stores online.

Do you use any of these? Are you willing to try? Not only are these better for the environment (less waste), many of these can even save you money in the long run. Pick one and see how you like it.

Free How to Draw Tutorials

40+ Free How to Draw Tutorials - People, animals, flowers, and more - Vicki-Arnold.com

Art is one of those subjects that seems to intimidate a lot of homeschool moms, that or they simply feel inadequate to teach. A hands-on art class is a fantastic tool, but if you can’t afford it or fit it into your schedule, the internet can certainly help.

One recommendation before jumping into the free tutorials. If you haven’t heard about See The Light art DVDs, those are a fantastic resource as well. I reviewed one of the classes previously, so you can read my review of the Pointillism class to get a better idea of what they are.

This post will be part of a series that I will put together over time. This post will focus on DRAWING tutorials. Look for more art tutorial round-ups soon-ish.

How to Draw Tutorials

How to Draw People

How to Draw Animals

How to Draw Flowers

How to Draw Other Objects

Sunday Psalms – Psalm 113:3

Sunday Psalms - Psalm 113:3 - vicki-arnold.com

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised. – Psalm 113:3

Books for Duck Dynasty Fans

Books for Duck Dynasty Fans - For All Ages | vicki-arnold.com

We happen to be big Duck Dynasty fans here. We love to laugh and they make us laugh. With the success of Duck Dynasty, there are beards, ducks, and camo everywhere…inlcuding books. I have actually started a collection of Robertson family books.

Today, I’m sharing a list of books for other Duck Dynasty fans to consider adding to their wishlist or library list.

Story Prompts to Encourage Creative Writing

20 Prompts to Encourage Creative Writing for Kids - vicki-arnold.com

You can probably imaging that I like to write. I kind of love it, in fact, but I know not everyone does. Some kids are reluctant to write, they can’t seem to make a connection with what’s in their imagination to their hand to put it on paper. Some draw a blank when a blank piece of paper is put in front of them.

Some just think it is boring

That’s when a story prompt can be of help. Simple questions or statements that get their creative juices flowing. Here’s a list of story prompts to help the process along:

Story Prompts That Ask a Question

  • What would happen if you woke up suddenly with one super power?
  • How would you spend $1,000 dollars?
  • What would the perfect meal be?
  • Where would you travel if money and time weren’t a problem?
  • What fictional character would you like to live a day in their life?
  • What is your idea of the perfect day?
  • What holiday would you like to create?
  • How would you like to change the world?
  • Which would you rather be, rich and sad or poor and happy?
  • What time period would you like to live in?

Statement Story Prompts

  • I had never been so surprised in my life.
  • There was only one option if they wanted to find the buried treasure, they must…
  • Suddenly, everyone in the room jumped.
  • The best story I ever heard went like this.
  • If there was one thing I dreaded most in school, it would be…
  • He felt the wind in his hair as he rode along the trail.
  • My family always does this when we celebrate Thanksgiving.
  • The little dog scampered up the hill and what he saw made him run even faster.
  • My favorite thing to do in the whole wide world is…
  • If I could witness one event in history, I would pick…

Get creative and you can probably come up with some prompts that involve your child’s interests. Involve superheroes, animals, or family members and see what kind of creative story your young writer can come up with.

How to Make Your Own Pizza Dough + 20 Ways to Top It!

How to Make Your Own Pizza Dough Plus 20 Ways to Top It!

For a long time, we had pizza weekly. Sometimes even twice because we would have homemade pizza one night and then have pizza when we did our Costco shopping. While Costco pizza is a super good buy, it is still cheaper to make your own.

Especially if you are picking up your ingredients at Costco. Which I do.

We kind of got burned out on pizza, but it is now finding its way onto our meal plans again. I used to have the recipe memorized, but since it has been so long the most recent time I made it, it kind of flopped because I thought I could remember the recipe. Turns out, no.

Don’t you worry, I grabbed my recipe card to share with you here. This started as a dinner roll recipe for me and I tweaked it a bit to make it a yummy pizza crust.

Pizza Dough Recipe

  • 1 1/4 c. warm water
  • 3 t. yeast
  • 2-3 T. sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • 6 T. butter, cut in pieces and at room temp OR 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 4 cups flour

Put the yeast in the bowl of your mixer and pour the warm water over it (do not get this too hot, it will kill your yeast). Let this sit for a minute or two, this is called letting your yeast bloom.

Add the sugar to your water/yeast mixture. Drop in the butter pieces or pour in your olive oil. Sprinkle your flour on top and then the salt. Using your dough hook, mix up the dough until it is soft and holds together nicely. I usually do this for about 8-10 minutes. Sometimes you need to add a little extra flour or a little water to get your dough the right consistency.

Cover the mixing bowl with a clean dish towel or plastic wrap and let sit for about 1 1/2 hours. The dough should be double the size it started from. This dough is enough to make 2 large pizzas on my large pizza stones.

Spread your dough out on your oiled or seasoned pans/stones and then top them with whatever toppings you want.

I usually bake the pizzas at 400 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.

Ways to Top Your Pizza Crust

Our favorite ways to top our pizza crust:

  • mozzarella, pepperoni, and pineapple with regular pizza sauce
  • chicken, bell peppers, red onion, pineapple, and mozzarella with barbecue sauce
  • chicken, bacon, and mozzarella on ranch dressing
  • brussel sprout, bacon, mozzarella, and parmesan

There are many creative ways to top your homemade dough. Here is a list of ideas to get you going beyond the traditional cheese and/or pepperoni:

Facebook Resources for Homeschoolers

Facebook Resources for Homeschoolers| Vicki-Arnold.com

Facebook has three distinct sections that homeschoolers can use to their advantage: profiles, pages, and groups. A brief description:

  • Profiles – This is what you create when you sign up for Facebook, profiles are for people. You have to send a friend request to connect your profile with someone else’s or vice versa. You control the privacy settings that determine what others see.
  • Pages – These are public pages that are for businesses, public figures, blogs, etc. All you have to do to connect with pages is to click like. All info posted on a page is public, but it won’t all find its way into your news feed (more on that later).
  • Groups – Groups are where groups of users can gather to discuss common interests. Groups can be set up three ways. Open groups can be found in searches and anyone can see the posts. Closed group content can only be seen by members, but the group still shows up in searched and you can request to join. Secret groups are not found in searches and can not be linked to, members have to be added directly via email.

How Homeschoolers Can Use Facebook Profiles

This one is pretty basic, you can’t really do anything on Facebook unless you have a profile. It is a great way for people to stay connected as they go about their lives. Just be sure to go through the privacy settings to know exactly what you are sharing with the world.

Use your Facebook profile to:

  • connect with family and friends, near and far
  • join groups for encouragement, resources, and information
  • like and follow pages of businesses, blogs, and ministries you like and/or support

How Homeschoolers Can Use Facebook Pages

These can be great if you understand how they work. Just about every brand, blog, and business is on Facebook. If you have a favorite curriculum, blog, or anything else, just do a search for them.

Before you go all like happy and giddy to have all your favorites in one place, you should know how Facebook works. Only a portion of the posts that each page posts will show in your news feed. True story. Facebook uses a super secretive (and super frustrating to some, ahem, bloggers) algorithm to figure out what you want to see. The theory is that you don’t actually want to see EVERYTHING that a page posts, just the best.

In theory, this is great for you. In reality, you may miss a LOT that you actually want to see. The only way to make sure you don’t miss anything is to actually go to the page and scroll through their wall. This may be a pain, but it is truly the only way you will see it all.

The nice thing is you can actually go to your profile, scroll down, and you will find a section with all your “likes.” You can then click to see them all on one page. An easy way to find the ones you have liked so far.

Use your profile to like pages of:

How Homeschoolers Can Use Facebook Groups

Facebook groups are a lot of fun. You get to interact with people who share a common interest, find great resources through extra eyes on the world wide web, and be encouraged that you are not alone in your life circumstances.

You can set your settings to receive notifications whenever anyone posts in the group, when friends post in the group, or no notifications at all. Which one you choose will depend largely on the group. For example, a large, active group would overwhelm our notifications if you set it to receive them when anyone posted. However, a smaller group that is more specific in its focus may be one you want to receive them all so you do not miss anything, particularly if it is a long time between postings.

My favorite homeschool related Facebook groups:

All you have to do to find great resources on Facebook is to search them out. Ask friends for their recommendations or start with the ones listed here, and then explore. As you go, Facebook will give you recommendations based on your interests.

Just remember that Facebook is a tool for you to use, don’t let it rule and ruin your day!

38 Free Sewing Tutorials for the Home

38 Free Sewing Tutorials for the Home | vicki-arnold.com

My sewing tutorial posts are consistently the most popular posts. It’s been a while since I have made one so it feels like I’m due. This free sewing tutorials round-up features tutorials and patterns for the home. So let’s get started!

Free Sewing Tutorials for the Home

Curtains & Valances

Pillows

Home Decor

Other Practical Helps

Blankets