October 30, 2018

DIY Kid's Avengers Black Widow Costume

She's been Hulk, she's been Thor, now Babs has chosen Black Widow for this year's costume. Maybe next year we'll branch out of the Avengers. Maybe not.

Widow Bites Bracelets

2 sheets Black construction paper
Elastic thread & hand sewing needle

Cut strips 2.5" x 4". (Sizes may vary depending on your child's wrist size.) 2.5" will be the length of the "bullets" and 4" ensures enough layers to be sturdy. Find a marker or glue stick that's the diameter you want the bullets to be. Wrap the strip around the marker and glue liberally.

Babs is 4.5 years old and I used 10 bullets for each bracelet. I should probably have done more, because when the elastic stretched, there were gaps.

Thread the elastic thread onto the needle and take a short stitch through the seam side of the bullet, about 1/2" from the short end. Stitch through each bullet. Cut the elastic with plenty extra. Repeat for the opposite short ends. Tie around your child's wrist, making sure it's tight enough to stay on, but not too tight! Keep in mind if they're going to be wearing multiple layers of clothing under the bracelet.

Black Widow Belt

Grey sheet of craft foam

Cut a length of 1"-wide elastic 2" longer than your child's waist. Thread one end through the female buckle end and stitch. Thread the opposite end through the male end.

I practiced my Black Widow hourglass on some paper, then used that as my template to trace onto the sheet of grey foam paper. I drew in the inner shapes and let Babs color them in red and black.

Glue the foam piece onto the front of the buckle.

A long-sleeved black shirt and black pants and she was doing parkour in the living room.

Happy Halloween!


October 8, 2018

DIY Greek Yogurt Recipe

I LOVE greek yogurt. It's high in protein, great for your digestive and immune systems, plus it tastes delicious.

But a tub of that stuff runs $6 a pop at our hometown store. An expensive habit like Chobani really adds up. So the DIY-er in me wondered, Can I make that myself? Turns out you can!

Save 2-3 TBSP from your store-bought tub of Greek yogurt to use as your starter culture and incubate your own batch in the dehydrator.


  • Starter culture from store-bought Greek yogurt (straight-up, not the "blended" kind with sugar flavorings)
  • Candy thermometer or a meat thermometer
  • Sieve
  • Cheesecloth
  • Jars
  • Dehydrator (you can use other things for incubators, like an oven on low temp)

1: Heat 4 cups (1 pint) whole milk to 160 F. We're killing off any bad bacteria.

2: Cool it off to 120-115.

3: Scoop out 1 cup and add your 2-3 TBSP of starter culture. Stir it up real good, get those cultures allllll incorporated. Then add it back into the main pot and stir that up real good.

4: Transfer them all to heat-proof containers, cover (not airtight--simply to keep dust/bacteria out of the jars) and set in dehydrator at 110 F for 8-10 hours. Mine typically go more toward the 10-hour end to make sure it's completely set. (Try not to check on it, but to test if it's set, tilt the jar. If the yogurt comes off the side of the jar in one mass, it's done.)

5: Let cool for 2ish hours. This step is actually important. Impatient Me has skipped this before and been disappointed. Cooling allows the yogurt to firm up even more, otherwise if you pour fresh warm yogurt into your cheesecloth, you'll get a lot of white unformed yogurt in the whey.

6: Pour into cheesecloth-lined sieve, set over a pot to catch the whey. Let strain for 1-2 hours, depending on how thick you like your yogurt. (Check out this post on what to do with that liquid gold whey you strained out.)

The yogurt will come off the cheesecloth in one creamy lump of glorious nutrition.

Store in the fridge for a week or so, I guess; ours never lasts that long. Don't forget to save 2-3 TB for your next batch!


Muesli is traditionally an oat-based granola/cereal, but use coconut flakes and nuts instead for a lower-carb option. A couple scoops add the perfect crunch to a big bowl of homemade yogurt.

1 cup roasted salted sunflower seeds
1 cup roasted salted pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds)
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped almonds

Add in some sliced strawberries or bananas (and mayyyyybe a dollop of honey on special occasions) and enjoy.

October 1, 2018

Resources for At Home Learning

I almost entitled this post "The Failure of Standardized Education to Adequately Educate Children," having just finished this book by Ben Sasse, but I toned it down a little. Preschool might be a little early for me to get up in arms about the ways in which our beureaucratized school system is an embarrassment, but oh well. I might as well just get a Mom Haircut and roll with it.

But really, you cannot leave the education of your children primarily to their school. At least, not if you want a well-rounded, conscientious and engaged adult. Taking a hands-on (and indeed primary) role in Babs' education is something we look forward to. Watching her learn is so fun! To see her grasp concepts and then apply them: magical! (And not just readin' writin' and 'rithmetic, but problem-solving, empathy and confidence.) We are crafting a bourgeoning human being!

I haven't dipped into the 'homeschooling' realm (yet) but I've dipped my toes in the Google water of at-home worksheets, and one resource rises above for actual education: the aptly named Education.com.

Googling coloring sheets for whatever Babs is into at the moment is well and good, but Education.com has THIRTEEN pages of coloring activities, all with subtle number- and letter-recognition reinforcement.

You can find worksheets on an array of subjects, such as math, science, and a breakdown of social studies, for kids from preschool to 5th grade.

"Scare up some fun word recognition with this Halloween themed matching activity. For more engaging educational activities, go to Education.com!"

Games like word searches, crosswords, connect the dots and match games make learning fun, and with the vast array of themes and worksheets, it'll always seem new and different. They even have online computer games too.

But don't take my word for it, check it out at education.com. Just make sure your printer has paper.