Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gift Idea: Seed Bombs

Last weekend, Lucas and I spend about 30 minutes making seed bombs to give out as Christmas gifts. It was inexpensive and fun and I think he and I are both excited to make them again soon.

There are numerous tutorials around the interwebs and you can even buy them on Etsy, but they are so fun to make, I can't imagine buying them!

  The ingredients are simple:
  • Air dry terracotta Crayola clay (I also read that if you have clay soil, you an dig down and use that. We do have clay soil but didn't want to get that DIY in our first attempt!
  • Potting soil or compost (we used potting soil we had on hand)
  • Seeds -- native perennials are best; we used a perennial wildflower mix
  • Water

Our process was highly scientific: we combined several small garden spade scoops of potting soil and clumps of clay until it looked like about 2/3 soil and 1/3 clay. We added enough water to get it all nice and squishy (maybe one cup?). Then we dumped in the packet of seeds.

Next comes the fun part when you're a 6yo boy -- squishing it all up!

I believe it was right about now that Lucas proclaimed, "Dirt is my middle name!"

Once it was sufficiently squished and mixed together we formed round balls. You can make these any size you want. Most of ours were a little smaller than a ping pong ball.

I carefully loaded them up on a sturdy piece of cardboard and put them on the only flat surface in our house that is safely out of reach of Nathaniel "hurricane is my middle name" -- the top of the fridge! Within about 48 hours they were dry and completely hard.

Warning: You may want to let anyone in your house who can reach the flat surface you are drying your seed bombs on that they are little balls of dirt, clay and seeds.

Abel -- who knew we had done this project but had not been around for it -- mistook the seed bombs for truffles (which I've never made in my life!) and apparently took a big bite. I SO wish I had been there to see it! I think I laughed harder than I have in a year when he told me that story!

I packaged them up six per bag with cute labels that said:

Seed Bombs -- Handmade by Lucas 

Drop a seed bomb anywhere you think needs a little beautification!

Ingredients: Potting soil, clay, perennial wildflower seeds

It's my understanding from reading other tutorials that the clay protects the seeds from being eaten by birds or other animals. The clay will continue to protect the seeds until they sprout and break the clay apart on their own. We made about 30 this round and will be giving them all away, but I think it would be fun to make a batch for us to keep in the car and use for guerrilla beautification!

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The True Spirit of Christmas

This is one of those stories that I'm blogging about because I never, ever want to forget it....

Lucas and Nathaniel spent this past weekend with my parents and attended a Christmas party after church on Sunday. Santa was there and while Nathaniel wanted nothing to do with him, Lucas happily sat on his lap. He whispered a wish to Santa who replied, "I'll do my best."

Lucas didn't breathe a word of his wish to my parents and so for part of the drive back home, Abel and I tried to get it out of him. Mostly, I was worried that there was one toy he hadn't mentioned to us, but only to Santa, that he really, really wanted.

We learned that the "thing" is invisible and that only "good guys" have it. Despite many, many guesses, we never figured it out.

At bedtime, in between books and songs, Lucas told me his secret wish, the one thing he really wanted for Christmas. I waited with baited breath as he took a few moments before whispering it to me.... He said, what I really want is "the true spirit of Christmas."

I thought I was going to cry right then and there.

I told him that if that was his true wish then it means he already has the true spirit of Christmas inside of him.

We sang songs and moved onto prayers. After reciting the memorized Our Father and nearly-memorized Hail Mary together, he said he wanted to say another prayer. He folded his hands and squeezed his eyes and prayed to Santa* to please, please bring toys to all the poor children, too. Lucas went on to say that he'd help but that poor children and homeless children needed presents, too, and please, Santa, don't forget them.

Oh my goodness. Could a mother's heart melt any further?

Lucas knows that we buy gifts for other children via the church's giving tree each year, and this year I talked to Lucas about putting some of his own money toward a gift for a child (he's got a whopping $7 saved at the moment!) who "might not get any other gifts." I didn't think about the fact that, in Lucas's mind, this would mean that Santa was skipping these children as well.


I am so proud of my kind and generous boy, my boy who truly does know the true spirit of Christmas.

But, now, how do I re-explain all this so as not to make Santa sound like the bad guy who leaves poor children off his list?

*Yes, apparently some slight confusion here but I didn't mind, considering the content and spirit of the prayer.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It Could Have Been Worse

Anyone who reads this blog and also knows me IRL and on Facebook definitely noticed the dissonance between weekend Facebook postings and Monday's blog post. I must admit that I typed up that little gem last week and scheduled it to post on Monday. Because, trust me, on Monday I was not thinking good and caring thoughts about women in Haiti or about great projects like Maiden Nation.

Instead I was saying the "F" word more than I ever have in my life, probably combined, and feeling really crappy.

Saturday night, Abel and I were rear ended by a drunk driver. We were stopped at a red light (as were about 10 cars around us) as he barreled -- and we think even accelerated -- down the road in his work truck, crashed into us, and kept on going. I really don't want to go into all the details but I will add that when we stopped, it was because of (thanks to?) a tree.

It was the single most terrifying experience of my life.

We are OK. We are going to be OK.

But it really, really sucks.

We are thankful for many things.

1. Our children were not with us. (THANK GOD)
2. We were driving my parents' SUV, which took the punishment quite well, considering.
3. They caught the guy. We are looking forward to testifying at that trial, believe you me.
4. We have been well taken care of by friends and loved ones, including:
     a. My parents who were in town and took care of the kids.
     b. The neighbor who recognized Abel at the crash scene and stopped. (I had already been taken to the hospital via ambulance.)
    c. Another friend who came to the hospital and stayed even though they wouldn't let her back.
    d. The friend who took our grocery list and went shopping for us.
    e. Countless others who have brought us meals, treats, and made offers to help.
    f. Our chiropractor!

So I'm remembering that it could have been worse and am trying to focus on the many things we have to be thankful for.

Your continued good thoughts are appreciated!

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Kiss Kiss!

Our darling Nathaniel was born just one day before the 2010 earthquake hit Haiti. I didn't watch any TV during my two days in the hospital with him because my heart and mind were unable to process the fact that I was holding a perfect, precious, strong, healthy baby boy and getting access to incredible health care while thousands of men, women and children were suffering so horribly in a neighboring country.

The two events -- the birth of my second son and the earthquake -- are tied together in my mind and remind me to count my blessings.

When my friend Leticia gave me the opportunity to learn -- and share -- about Maiden Nation and the Kiss Kiss Bracelet, I jumped at it!

Shop here
The Kiss Kiss Bracelets are named for the signature Haitian greeting of a peck on each cheek. They are part of a new line of Chan Luu jewelry created especially for Maiden Nation by members of Hands Together Cooperative in Haiti, in partnership with the Glamour Women of the Year Fund Initiative and the United Nations Ethical Fashion Initiative. Each purchase will help the survivors of the 2010 earthquake build a new life by supporting this new business. Additionally, for every bracelet sold, $6 will be donated to Sean Penn's J/P Haitian Relief Organization to support community development in Haiti. AND, to support victims in the U.S. and Haiti coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Maiden Nation will also donate $2 to the American Red Cross.

I love this project for so many reasons. First, Maiden Nation's tag line is "Where Visionary Women Rule" -- swoon! Second, these projects aren't just a band aid. They are about empowering women (and therefore the whole community, right?) to shape and improve their own way of life.

I hope you'll take a few minutes to learn more about Maiden Nation. Wouldn't a Kiss Kiss Bracelet make a wonderful gift for your hip babysitter, friend, sister, niece or child's teacher?

Disclosure: I received a complimentary Kiss Kiss Bracelet but was not required to blog about it or compensated in any way. All opinions are my own.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!