2013 February

Archive for February, 2013

DIY Baby Shower Gift: Stork Bundles

If you are looking for an easy baby shower gift to give to a mother-to-be, diaper cakes are always a popular option. A diaper cake is made by rolling up disposable diapers and putting them together in the shape of a “cake” to give to the new mom.

Diaper cakes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and themes. You can find many free resources online to show you how to make diaper cakes, or you can order diaper cakes exactly to your specifications. The only real draw back to traditional diaper cakes is that they can become very expensive, especially if you buy one that is pre-made. Many big diaper cakes require a large box of diapers to complete, and diapers are very expensive.

If you want to make a diaper cake but can’t invest the time or money necessary to complete one, then you might consider making these “stork bundles” instead. Stork bundles require a lot less diapers and are very easy and inexpensive to make. And they are very cute!

Supplies Needed:

1 receiving blanket
10 disposable diapers
Rubber bands
Rattle, pacifier, or teething ring (optional)
Coordinating ribbon

You can often find receiving blankets in packages of two or more, so it would be very easy to make a pair of stork bundles to give as a gift. You will need twenty disposable diapers to make two stork bundles.



First roll each diaper up tightly and secure around the middle with a rubber band.

Take one of the receiving blankets and fold it in half, and then fold it in half again so that you have a long narrow strip.

Cut a piece of ribbon about 24 inches long and set it next to you (you can find lots of great ribbon in a variety of colors at your local Dollar Store).

Set the folded receiving blanket in front of you. In the center of the strip line up four rolled up diapers. Stack three diapers on top of the first layer, then two diapers, and then one diaper, to create a pyramid of diapers. Fold up the ends of the blanket in one hand as you stack the diapers, to keep the diapers from falling down.

Holding the ends of the blanket with one hand, use your other hand to tie the ribbon around the top of the blanket, to keep the diapers in place. If desired, you can also tie a baby rattle, teething ring, or pacifier on the ribbon. Tie the ribbon in a pretty bow.

That’s it! These stork bundles are easy to personalize. You can make pink ones, blue ones, or gender neutral ones. If you can find a good deal on receiving blankets, you can make two stork bundles for about $10. You can just give them as a gift, or you can even use them as table decorations at a baby shower.

New moms love practical gifts that they can put to good use right away, and moms can never have enough diapers. Make a couple of these easy stork bundles to give as gifts today.

Samantha Edwards regularly blogs on baby & children topics. With her own experiences as a mother, she wants to share the wealth of information she has learned. For baby gifts visit boxt.com.au.

Top 6 Coupon Apps

by Jason Benton

Technology has revolutionized the way people communicate, access information and work. And after how far technology has taken us, the next logical question is how it will shape the world of the future. But given the choice, most people would rather forgo the lofty pontificating and find out how technology can get them discounts on stuff. That’s where mobile apps come in.
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For years, Apple had the market cornered with mobile apps, and indeed their flagship provider – the App Store – doesn’t show any sign of waning in popularity. But Android is catching up on the mobile app front, and users of these devices have their pick from an extensive library that features apps in all genres – including coupons and savings.

Here are just a few coupon app options that are available for either the iPhone or Android – many for both! And the best part is they are all free.

Top 6 Coupon Apps

RetailMeNot – free, iOS/Android

This is one of the most popular options on the list for the simple reason that RetailMeNot offers thousands of discounts from a variety of online and brick-and-mortar retailers. The app is location-based, so users can get real-time alerts on deals when browsing their favorite shops at the mall. The simple drag-and-drop interface also makes it easy for users to redeem their mobile coupons.

SnipSnap – free, iOS

The days of clipping mass amounts of coupons may be long gone, but there are still deals to be found in that antiquated information vessel of yesteryear known as print media. Those who do happen to come across a sweet deal in paper form needn’t panic because SnipSnaprescue! All that’s required of the users is to use their smartphone’s camera to snap a photo of a coupon barcode and the app stores the information for future use.

EZ Coupon – free, Android

There’s no reason for Android users to feel left out of the coupon-scanning scene. With EZ Coupon, users can scan a variety of formats straight to their handheld device.

ShopSavvy – free, iOS/Android

Great for comparison shopping, iOS aggregates price information from a variety of sources. All the user needs to do is scan any item’s barcode using the app’s built-in scanner and the price info from various online and brick-and-mortar retailers is then displayed front and center. Users can even purchase the lowest-priced item right from the app, as long as it is on offer from an associated retailer like Best Buy or Walmart.

ShopKick – free iOS/Android

This is another location-based mobile app that offers consumer rewards in the form of “kicks” that the user receives merely by walking into his or her favorite retail store, as long as the store in question is in ShopKick’s network. But this an extensive network that includes retailers such heavyweights as Target, Starbucks and Macy’s. Once the user accumulates enough of these kicks, he or she can then redeem them for gift cards at the same store or another one in the network.

CouponCabin – free, iOS/Android

This is sort of the Swiss Army knife of mobile coupon apps. CouponCabin does it all, from searching daily deals across the Internet to keeping track of discount and rewards cards. Users can also browse their favorite stores and brands, look for grocery coupons, compare gas prices, find in-store offers and share all of the above info with friends.

The above list of coupon-app options should provide iPhone and Android users with all the discounts they could ever want and more. On a final note, shopaholics should pay close attention to the location-based technology used in many of these options, as it stands to be the prime driver of consumerism in the near future and will shape the culture of retail savings and discounts.

Four Great Pre-Workout Snacks

It’s always ill-advised to eat a lot before a workout, though some people are susceptible to low blood sugar or low energy levels if they don’t get enough food before physical activity. If you’re one of those people who don’t perform better on an empty stomach, then you’re probably familiar with trying to strike a balance of having a little bit of food before a workout, but not so much that it slows you down an hour later.

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A lot of what determines whether or not you’re able to strike that balance is related to what you’re eating, just the same as how much of it you consume. Keeping the portion low is obvious, but the type of food you should be eating isn’t quite so clear.

pre-workout snacks

To figure that out, let’s start with some simple facts about what our body needs for energy:

  • Fluids – Hydration is crucial to maintaining our energy during any physical activity.
  • Protein – Protein is generally thought of as a post workout need, though it’s also crucial to your energy levels before you even get to the gym.
  • Carbohydrates – Protein combined with good carbohydrates will be your provide you with a more sustained amount of energy. Having one without the other is alright, but ideally we’ll be able to include both in the pre-workout snack.

Our goal now is to find snacks that incorporate all three of these elements. Remember that we’re trying to keep our portions fairly low, so a small serving size should already be assumed.

1. Yogurt with Granola and Green Tea – Here you’ve got your protein, carbohydrates and a little bit of caffeine to top it all off. Green tea in and of itself can be an excellent way to hydrate before a workout, so feel free to combine it with any other food choice. Since the yogurt is a dairy product, it needs to be a small portion to avoid hitting your stomach too hard. In fact, half a cup or less will be plenty to sustain you.

2. Pretzels and String Cheese – The salt in pretzels will actually help you hydrate by helping your body absorb fluids. Make sure that you balance it out by drinking water before and during your workout.

Though it might not seem like a healthy choice, keep in mind that we aren’t trying to prepare a meal’s worth of good choices; rather we’re just trying to get you enough energy to get you through your workout routine. The cheese and pretzels gives you a good combination of protein and carbohydrates, which is exactly what you need to do the job. It’s also easy to eat.

3. Rice, Black Beans and Black Coffee – A great thing about this combination is that it’s easy to digest and highly unlikely to give your stomach any trouble. While it’s not a bad idea to make a habit of consuming black beans on a regular basis, they’re particularly good for you right before a workout. Black beans provide you with protein and a little bit of fiber as well. Add the rice and you’re good to go. Include the black coffee in small doses for the caffeine and anti-oxidants.

4. Grilled Chicken and Whole Wheat Pasta – The disadvantage here is that there’s some preparation involved and you’ll also want to be careful to not eat too much of this as it shapes up more like a meal than a snack.

Perhaps if you have leftover chicken and pasta, a small serving of both with some parmesan cheese will be an ideal combination of protein and carbohydrates.   


Remember to keep all these combination to small portions, somewhere around 1 cup or less. This can be hard to do if you’re really hungry, but keep in mind that even a small amount of food can keep your hunger down for a fairly long time.

The tea and coffee can be included with any snack you choose, though be sure and drink them in moderation to avoid depending on the caffeine itself for your energy. They also shouldn’t be thought of as a water replacement as you should be drinking plenty of water before and during your workout.

To finish up, I’ll list a few foods that can be worked into the above combinations.

Honorable Mentions

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Popcorn
  • Turkey Slices
  • Apple Slices
  • Oranges or Orange Juice
  • Raw Spinach
  • Avocado

Jennifer Fox is a nutrition consultant. She enjoys sharing her tips and insights on various health and lifestyle topics.

DIY Garlands for Valentine’s Day


It’s fun to make homemade decorations for Valentine’s Day. Let your kids get in on the fun in making these easy DIY Valentine’s Day garlands.

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Paper Heart Chain

This cute heart-shaped paper chain can be made out of sheets of white, pink, and red paper. Cut pieces of construction paper or scrapbook paper lengthwise into strips of 1 inch each.

Fold each strip of paper in half lengthwise. Tuck the two ends of the strip down towards the fold into the shape of a heart, and staple them together. Loop the next strip through the first heart and then fold the second strip into the shape of a heart and staple that one together.

Continue adding strips and creating hearts until the chain is the desired length. This is an easy, cute paper chain that kids of all ages can help make.

Valentine's Day garland

Playing Card Garland

Another cute garland you can make for Valentine’s Day is made from a deck of playing cards.

Punch two holes in each playing card (just use the cards with hearts on them). Place one hole next to each edge of the top of the card.

Thread the playing cards onto a piece of yarn or ribbon. You can also tie or knot additional pieces of ribbon or strips of fabric in between the cards on the garland for added decoration.

Doily Garland

This craft only takes a few minutes to put together, and it comes apart easily after Valentine’s Day.

Purchase heart-shaped doilies in a variety of colors and sizes. Cut a piece of ribbon the length you want the garland to be. Use mini clothespins to pin the doilies onto the ribbon, and the garland is ready to hang.

This garland is so easy to make, yet pretty too!

Hanging Heart Garland

This is a creative way to string hearts together to hang from the ceiling or from a curtain rod.

You will need some cut out hearts of different colors and shapes. You can use construction paper or scrapbook paper.

To string the hearts together you will need to use a sewing machine. Sew down the center of the first heart, from top to bottom. Pull out an inch or sew of thread and then sew down the center of the next heart. You will end up with a string of hearts that you can hang from the ceiling, and stitching them in this way looks a lot nicer than using glue or staples to attach them to ribbon or string.

Felt Heart Garland

This garland is similar to the hanging hearts garland in that you will use a sewing machine to sew the hearts together.

Cut hearts of a variety of colors and sizes out of felt. They can be red, pink, white, or you can make your garland multi-colored.

After you have cut out the hearts, sew them together like for the hanging heart garland, leaving only a half inch or less of thread between each felt heart. The garland will be hung horizontally this time, instead of vertically, but you still want to sew through the hearts from top to bottom like before. The hearts will be laying on their sides when you hang them up.

These are great sewing projects for beginning sewers. You only need to be able to sew a straight line.

If you don’t have a pattern to use for a heart shape for these garlands, then just search Google Images for heart clipart and you will find many options to choose from.

These ideas should give you some inspiration for making some great homemade garlands for Valentine’s Day. Kids love making holiday crafts, so let them help you decorate your home for Valentine’s Day.

Copyright 2012, Christian-Parent.com. This article may not be reprinted.

Follow my Valentine’s Day board on Pinterest.

Conversation Heart Crafts for Kids to Make for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day crafts are fun for kids to make. There are a number of different crafts that can be made with candy conversation hearts. Here are just a few ideas to get you and your children started.
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Conversation Heart Wreath

This is a fun craft for older kids. You will need a small round styrofoam wreath, a couple bags of conversation hearts, a hot glue gun, and some ribbon to hang the wreath up.

Using the hot glue gun, carefully glue the conversation hearts all around the styrofoam wreath, covering it completely so that no styrofoam shows through. Use additional hearts to fill in any gaps. After the glue is dry, tie a piece of ribbon through the wreath so you can hang it up.

Conversation Heart Candle Holders

There are a couple of ways that you and your children can decorate candle holders with conversation hearts.

One easy way is to fill a tall cylindrical vase about half way with conversation hearts and then place a pillar candle inside.

You can also use a hot glue gun to glue conversation hearts to the outside of small votive candle holders.

Framed Conversation Hearts

For this project you will need an old picture frame. If you are recycling an old frame, you first might want to rub it with sand paper and then spray paint it white or pink. For a shabby chic look, first paint the frame black and then paint the white or pink on top of the black. Using a piece of sand paper, gently rub away some of the top layer of paint to give the frame a weathered look.

Next carefully remove the glass from the frame and arrange candy hearts on the glass. You can use the hearts to create larger hearts of various shapes and sizes, or you can create one big heart to fill in the whole glass. Just make sure to leave room to put the frame back in place.

One by one, remove each conversation heart and glue it back in place with a bit of hot glue. After the picture is complete, place the glass back in the frame and your work of art is ready to display.

Conversation Heart Bingo Game

Use conversation hearts to create a fun bingo game for Valentine’s Day. Have your children create their own bingo cards with the sayings from conversation hearts in each box on the cards.

When they are ready to play the game, have them use conversation heart candies to use as markers for the squares.

Homemade Valentine’s Day Cards

Conversation hearts can also be used to make homemade Valentine’s Day cards. Make a card out of red or pink cardstock or scrapbook paper and glue conversation hearts onto the front of the card. If you feel creative, use the words on the hearts to create sentences on the card.

Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be the same without conversation hearts. They are a favorite holiday treat for children and adults alike. Have some fun this Valentine’s Day and share some conversation hearts with your kids while also having fun doing these simple Valentine’s Day crafts.

Hanna Griesbach is a busy mom and freelance writer  who enjoys scrapbooking. She enjoys hunting the web for great deals and freebies. One of her favorite resources is Free Gifts 4 Kids.