Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lakeside Campfires & Games // Summer Adventures

Summer is in full swing here and I'm finally settling in for some r + r after all the adventures we've been on so far. When did summer become so exhausting?! To me there's nothing as soothing as lakeside camping and that's just where we are headed.

Smores, bacon, maybe a Not Your Father's Rootbeer or 2 (for adults!) all are given but I thought I'd share a few games we like to do/play/make at the lake too.

Water cup races // Allfortheboys

Soap boat races // Iheartnaptime

How to make a Solar Oven // Kidsactivitiesblog

What are you favorite camping games to play? Leave a comment or link in the comments to share-

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Upcycled T-shirt Book is here!

Tshirt Upcycling Projects Book

This week has been crazy in so many good ways! Yesterday I tore into a box of freshly minted The Upcycled T-shirt books- insert a mental picture here: the packing tape flying and my hulk strength coming out in full force to rip through corners of corrugated cardboard! It's a whirlwind of emotions holding this sweet baby in my hands- I'm so very excited that it's out in the world and hopeful that it will inspire you. I'll be sharing more about the book, projects inside, and the whole process in the days to come. If you can't wait to get your hands on a copy- head over to Amazon.com and pick up the Kindle version. If you got on board early and placed a preorder it will likely be arriving this weekend!

Please share pictures and projects from the book using hashtag #TheUpcycledTshirt on social media! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Avengers Bake Shop Birthday Party

I often give the boys full reign for their birthday party themes, and this year T really put my planning/crafting skills to the test. His request: an Avengers + Donut cake party. Okay so I'll admit, in hindsight I might've taken this all out of context- but boy oh boy! The Avengers Bake Shop theme party was a lot of fun to create & all the kids had a blast! I'll admit basically everything pre-made for donut bakery parties is made in pastel or pinks, that was the biggest challenge for me.

I opted to have a birthday brunch so all our guests arrived to our backyard party around 10am on a Saturday afternoon. We were fortunate to have beautiful weather because I didn't really have a good back up plan. The front of the house was decorated with inflatable donuts and a front door donut wreath I made from upcycled t-shirts. Directing our guests to the side/back yard where the festivities awaited. A spread of doughnuts, eclairs, fresh baked cookies, and homemade marshmallow cereal bars were set out along the main focal wall.

Boys Bakery Party Donuts

Powered donuts in the grass lead way to our main table- which was set up ready for our first party activity. Building our own donuts!

Decorate Donuts Party Activity

Watch out Voodoo Doughnut- we've got some new bakers in town. Using every topping you could image the kids went to town building mountains of sweet and yummy breakfast treats.

In addition to our inflatable bounce house (which has survived 7 years of abuse!) we had other games set up around the yard- Captain America Shield oversized Frisbee disc that was purchased at 5 Below, donut ring toss, and the main event of a Thor's Hammer Toss.

The throwing of Thor's hammer deemed itself to be most popular event and we had several rounds of fun. Their made using boxes, toilet paper rolls, and duct tape.

No party of mine is complete without a custom TrashN2Tees shirt, going along with the theme of the Avengers Bake Shop and T's current favorite Avenger of the day- Hawkeye I designed him a custom shirt.

Hawkeye Avengers T-shirt For Kids

This has been one of my favorite parties yet and I really hope that you enjoyed it too! Be sure to check out some of previous parties like the Star Wars Themed Party, The Retro Comic Book Party,  Nerf Wars, and Ninjago Green Ninja Party.

Head back a few post on the TrashN2Tees blog for a few tips on making oreo pops I learned along the way. [hulk smash]

Fresh Off The Scissors

Applique Paper Airplane TrashN2Tees
Excited to share with you this new design that hit the shop yesterday- the paper airplane applique by TrashN2Tees. It's a fun spin on a staple boyhood activity. Here are 10 of the best paper airplane designs to get you started. Stop by www.Trashn2Tees.com for more size options and shop for one of a kind cool boy clothes.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Avengers Bake Shop: Tips for Making Oreo Pops

Bake Shop Birthday Treat

I'm gearing up with party prep for T's upcoming Avengers Bake Shop birthday- happening this Saturday! This morning I made these confetti oreo pops. Now for the disclaimer: I generally outsource any and all baking or cooking when possible. But- come on, how hard can it be to cover an oreo with chocolate & dip them in sprinkles?

Well... here's a few things I picked up along the way. Taste tested truth: you can't tell the difference between OREO's and the fake ones at the grocery. With our party is just a few days away, I wanted to make sure the cookies weren't going to stale between now and then. I learned that oreo pops, stored in an air tight container at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit can be kept fresh for up to 4 weeks. Great news, if you're hoping to make enough to feed an army.

I was able to make 16 pops using 3oz Wilton Rainbow Nonpareils, Wilton White Chocolate Candy Dips and a package of store brand oreos. I ran out of the rainbow sprinkles but still have plenty cookies and white chocolate left over. I was adding sprinkles to both the front and back sides of the pops- you could also cover only 1 side to double the bounty. 

Tip: Open oreo cookie, place stick in frosting at least half way. Top with a dab of melted chocolate. Put cookie back together.

In the beginning I had trouble with the cookie staying on the stick as I added the weight of chocolate. By adding the chocolate to the center of the cookie it helped hold the cookie together.

Check back tomorrow for more party DIYs and details! 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Communicating Beyond Words: 30 Days of Action

I'm coming to the realization that whether you're raising children, mentoring youth, or trying to affect your world or community in positive way- there will undoubtedly be challenges. My heart weighs heavy as I'm typing this in the aftermath of the Baltimore Riots. After watching video clips with the latest on the earthquake that dismantled Nepal. I actually sat on my couch and wept. I can't be the only one. Statistics show me that despite being bombarded with bad news, tragedy, and negative reports that the world is in the midst of a decades-long trend of actually becoming better: safer and healthier and more humane. I truly want to believe that, and with everything else I know our greatest contribution starts at home.

Back to this image of me, sweatshirt clad sobbing on my couch. I quickly swipe away the tear drops as they fall because I'm worried that my children will see- and wonder why I'm so upset. Then I realized, I needed them to see this. This isn't a sign of weakness. I began thinking about ways to help give them an understanding of how to better understand the needs of people around us. How can I reinforce support, compassion, generosity and nurture empathy? Communicating goes beyond the words you say (or type, or text) it's bigger than donating or supporting a cause online. And then here I am again- talking about getting out into our own communities. Put down the phone, the ipad, and any other Stark Industries technology you might own. 

I'm going to be challenge you to a Generosity Drive next month, 30 days- 30 acts of kindness. You don't need money. You don't need a ton of time. In fact you don't even need to give it another thought. Here are 30+ ways you can take action with your families in the month of May.

Day 1: Send snail mail, you know the kind that shows up in a real life mail box? You can even print out this gorgeous matching stationary for free!

Day 2: Strike up a fancy conversation with somebody, simply asking: “What was the BEST part of your day?”

Day 3: Volunteer, anywhere. Mentor an aspiring entrepreneur, coach a youth sports team, read, tutor, or hey! here are 5 ways you can volunteer right now

Day 4: Find a Little Free Library near you and donate a book. Can’t find one? Start one.

Day 5:  Do not let difference make a difference.

Day 6: Spring clean out your closet and donate some treasures to Dress For Success — or its equivalent, in your country. Making space & spreading empowering another woman to achieve her dreams at the same time!

Day 7: Love yourself first. Practice progress, not perfection

Day 8: Tip generously. Not sure how much? This is how much. Except double it.

Day 9: Buy a cup of lemonade from the kids with a lemonade stand. Instead- buy two and tell them to keep the change.

Day 10: Give out free hugs.

Day 11: Say Thank You to someone who has impacted your life- a teacher, a parent, anyone! Fill in the blanks “You’ve given me so many gifts. Like the ability to _______________, and the confidence to _______________. Thank you.”

Day 12: Adopt a soldier and show them some love by sending a little note, donating needed items, or hosting an event for a veteran. Or simply say, Thank you.

Day 13: Wave to someone on a school bus, on a boat, from your window, whenever you see an opportunity. Don't forget to smile :)

Day 14:  Send a story tip to a local reporter. (Especially if it’s good news.)
Day 15: Spread joy by blowing up a bunch of balloons and randomly hand them out to children at a beach, park or ball game. Watch their faces light up with surprise and gratitude!

Day 16: Nominate a talented friend for an award. Like The Bloggies. Or The Webbies. Or The Stevies. Or … perhaps one of these.

Day 17:  Offer to babysit for a friend so she & her hubby can have a date night.

Day 18: Put a gift, like flowers you just picked, in a bike basket you see parked around in your neighborhood.

Day 19: Compliment 5 people you don't know today. To get started, 15 of the best compliments you can give.

Day 20: Give the world the gift of your undivided, non-digital attention. Listen, closely.

Day 21: Create necessity packs and give them to the homeless. You’d be surprised how many things a homeless person learns to go without, and making simple packs full of life’s necessities is a great gesture. Drop them off at your local homeless shelter so they can do the distributing.

Day 22: Give someone a grrrrreat massage. Here’s how.

Day 23: Buy an Amazon gift for a total stranger. (Search wishlists, here.)

Day 24:  Provide roadside assistance. Not everyone is a AAA member, and if you notice someone that is having car trouble on the side of the road, pull over and see if they’re OK.

Day 25: Hold the door for a stranger.

Day 26: Drop off stuffed animals to a local childrens hospital or participate in a Soft Toy Drive like the one just hosted by Sew Mama Sew 

Day 27: Tape change to a vending machine in a hospital waiting room

Day 28:  Vote.

Day 29: Visit www.SERVEnet.org to find volunteer opportunities in your area.

Day 30: Ask someone how you can help them. 

I know, there are heavy issues facing us today and you may not believe that paying it forward with a cup of coffee is going to effectively change the world- but kindness, compassion, love and empathy trump out cruelty and that's a good place to start. Do you feel like our younger generations are lacking empathy, compassion, and communication skills? How do you instill these values in your own families, classrooms, and communities? Leave a comment and let's expand this conversation below-

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Brand Rep Search for TrashN2Tees

I'm rolling out a new program for the Spring/Summer seasons and inviting real life families and/or bloggers to join in! Today I'll be opening up a "brand rep search" on Instagram- where I'm looking to find 3 kids (probably boys- but I'm 100% for equal opportunity so bring it on little ladies!) between 12m and 10 years of age to participate in collaborative exchange. I will send the selected kids over $150 worth of ready to ship TrashN2Tees t-shirts with an opportunity to design their own custom order. In return- I am looking for quality photos and content shared online. I'll get down to the specifics later in this post.

If you're already familiar with the TrashN2Tees brand, welcome back & thank you for your continued support! For those who are just being introduced to my brand, please give me a few moments to tell you a little bit about what I do here. TrashN2Tees was born of my frustration for the serious lack of cool boy clothing- I am always on the look out for tees that reflect my two sons personalities. I was tired of fire trucks, teddy bears, and mini store billboards across the chest of every shirt being offered on the market. I believe kids have their own voice, and their own identity- and I hope that my designs can help voice that. In 2010, I started designing and sewing my own clothes. Paired with my background in environmental science and passion to make a positive difference in the world, I began creating one of kind shirts using outgrown or unwanted clothing. TrashN2Tees allowed me to raise awareness about reuse and textile recycling. Each original design is hand drawn, hand cut, and meticulously sewn into place providing you with a high quality heirloom piece that will withstand a monster truck mud bath and will be a hand me down favorite full of memories for the years to come. 

Since then, TrashN2Tees has expanded to include many facets; hands on reuse workshops, patterns, an embroidery applique line, and I just published my first book: The Upcycled T-shirt. But of all this- I'm most proud to include our nationwide clothing recycling program. Check out the diagram above to see how we're able to close the loop! To date we have diverted more than 475,000 lbs of clothing from our landfills.
Ecofest/NYC Times Square Fashion Show

I design for families who are on the go and who like to have fun & explore the world together! My hope is to connect with real people, who live real everyday lives (the good, the bad, the messy.) If you're interested in representing TrashN2Tees, creating a buzz, and can share quality photographs then please join me!

I will select up to 4 brand ambassadors (I don't like the word reps- to me this is a collaborative process and we'll work closely together!) who in exchange for merchandise are agreeing to post/tag @TrashN2Tees 2 different pictures per product within a 6 month period. (Example: if you receive 3 tshirts, that would = 6 individual posts/tags) In addition to the exchange of product I will also ask you for feedback/ideas and offer an option to vote on new product line designs. There are opportunities based on geographical location for runway shows, photoshoots, and appearance which you will have access and invites to join us.

I will not be choosing kid ambassadors based on their looks, duh! I know they're all going to be adorable and handsome and gah! I'll probably want to squeeze someones cheeks! I'm interested in well lit and naturally styled photographs. Head over to Instagram: Follow @TrashN2Tees // Repost the Brand Ambassador Image on your IG account // and Tag up to 3 recent pictures  #TN2TRepSearch daily to be entered to win! Bonus if you take a moment to introduce yourself with a comment and say hello!

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