Refrigerator Magnets

Now, my husband wouldn't readily admit to helping with this project, but he did.  It was before we were married.  Now that we're married, he's definitely not interested in helping.  We made refrigerator magnets out of scrapbooking stickers that we had.  It was a great way to re-use magnet advertisements instead of throwing them away (or you can purchase magnet strip).  I'm betting I will be making some kid friendly ones when our little baby becomes a toddler.
  1. Cut thick paper to desired size.
  2. Add sticker.
  3. Affix magnet on back.  
Cost: Free!

Cloth Diapers

Now, I'm the first to admit, I never thought I'd raise a baby in cloth.  I mean, who wants to deal with all the grossness of stinky, inconvenient, bulky cloth that always leaks? Not me.  Not my husband. No way.

But, I soon grew tired of the waste of disposables.  We only go to the transfer station every other week.  And dirty disposables stink.  My husband and I were equally frustrated with the stink.  We decided to borrow a friend's cloth diaper stash for a week.   If either of us were dissatisfied with the whole process after a week, we'd go back to disposables.  After the 3rd day, we were hooked  Modern cloth diapers are cute, easy to use and functional.  Seriously, wouldn't you love giraffes on your underwear?  And if you have a system that works, there is no stink. Yes, they cause laundry, but only 2 loads a week.  I throw them in before bed and they're dry and ready to use in the morning.  Easy! And the best part, savings!  I read before that it costs $2500 to cloth your baby from birth to potty training.  New cloth diapers are $12-$25, used are $8-$10 (we bought some from a friend), or you can make your own for less than $2.  All I did was trace a fave diaper on to tissue paper, add some seam allowance.  Walla!  A pattern.  Huge savings, environmentally friendly and best for your baby's bottom.  Who can resist a cute, fluffy bum?

Baby approved.

Street Signs for Play Cars

I'm trying to "get ahead" and make some toys in advance. Even though our little guy can't play with these yet, I'm sure he'll get enjoyment out of them eventually. I picked up a big bag of misc. wooden pieces for free at a thrift store a while back. I also picked up these street sign dominoes. I thought they would be perfect to combine to make street signs.

All I did was cut the dominoes apart, sand the rough edges and then hot glue the pieces together to make signs. Very easy. They came out pretty sturdy and cute, I think.

Cost: $.25 for the street sign dominoes.

Play Money

Every kid needs a set of play money. It's necessary. How else can one play grocery store, restaurant, drive through, car wash, pizza delivery, bank, post office, book store, toy store, etc. without play money?

 I've made play these play dollars out of craft foam. I've also made play dollars out of felt for a more eco friendly option.

I made the change out of an incomplete set of wooden checkers. I just painted half gold and the other half silver.

I also have saved the play credit cards that come in the mail for kids to play with.

Cost: $0.50, as I used 1/2 page of craft foam.

Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

This post is inspired by Maine Maple Sunday.

My dad has an obsession with Maple Syrup.  He has it pretty much everyday.  On grapefruit, oatmeal, on ice cream, sweet potatoes, squash, in yogurt, etc. He always  is asking me to make the maple cake his mom used to make.  When he runs out of ideas on what to have maple syrup on, he digs out the shot glass and has a shot.  The first time my husband observed this, it was quite entertaining.  My husband's eyes were wide in disbelief as my dad poured a shot for him.  While I was visiting my dad during my maternity leave, I pondered putting two of my dad's favorite foods together:  Maple and Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I began playing in the kitchen, trying to create the perfect recipe.  These were approved with gusto.  And then I get asked when I'm going to be making them again.

Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies-a jackie lipsky original

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cup oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup white flour
1 cup coconut
2 cup choc chips
1 cup nuts (pecans go best)

Cream butter, sugars and eggs.  Add the rest of the ingredients in sequence, mixing as you go.  Drop on greased cookie sheets.  Bake 375 for 10-12 minutes.  Mmm.

Maine Maple Sunday

Today is Maine Maple Sunday.  One of the best holidays of the year in Maine, in my opinion.  Sugarbushes all over the state open up.  Live demonstrations, free maple samples.  Indulge in all you can eat pancake breakfasts, maple doughnuts, maple kettle corn, maple candy.  Go on a spring hay ride, visit animals. Wear your mud boots. Bring home a fresh jug of maple syrup.  A perfect country day.  So, in keeping with the festivities, today needs to be a maple post.

There's nothing like getting a sample of maple syrup fresh from the sugarbush.

And we are the terrible parents who let their baby try sweet maple syrup for the very first time.  I mean if we're enjoying it, he should get a chance too, right?!

We enjoyed the animals.
And loved our pancakes.

Of course we bought some maple syrup to bring home.  Yum!

Puppy Crinkle Toy

Crinkle.  Babies love crinkle.  Mine is no exception.

So I decided to whip one up.

Cost:  Free!!!  The face were my husband's ripped eddie bauer pants.  The ears and nose are an old halloween costume.  The eyes are an old t shirt.  The tongue is just scrap.  The ears, nose and tongue are stuffed with a plastic bag that covered a lotion gift set. It has a loud crinkle.  And the face is stuffed with left over quilt batting.

Baby approved!

Fun Labels


A little ribbon from a gift bag.  A little square of paper.  A necklace charm no longer needed.  And here you have a creative label.  

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There's something special about a bassinet.  Babies look so cozy and peaceful in the perfect bassinet.  A good friend gave me her bassinet.  Although it had been through her four kids, it was in great shape.  The fabric was a little wild-primary colors in zig zags and swirls.  I had envisioned more of a soft look.  So I just re-did the cover to have soft baby blue and white stripes. As a bonus, a different friend made a beautiful blanket that matches perfectly.  If you have an older bassinet that still has good bones, give it a 'face lift'.  You won't be sorry.  Here's ours:

Whoopie Pies

On October 1, 2004, I was baking my little heart out.  Why does this day ring a bell you ask?  Well, it was the night before this blind date that I didn't even want to go on. He was a friend of a friend-and I was sure I wouldn't like him.  But I thought, nothing breaks the ice in awkward moments like a homemade treat.  As it turns out, he was a fan.  That's for sure.  6 1/2 years later my now husband still gets excited over my whoopie pies.  Sometimes I wonder if I would have been asked for a 2nd date if he didn't receive a gift pack of whoopie pies that first night?  Anyway, I've consulted numerous recipes to create this original recipe.

These extremely naughty treats make me giddy inside!
Whoopie Pies

In bowl 1, combine:
1 1/2 C. Hot water
2/3 Cocoa Power
1 Tsp Baking Soda
Add 1/2 cup of Sour cream
Set aside

In Bowl 2, combine:
1 1/3 C. Bwn Sugar
1/4 C. Shortening
1/4 C. Butter
Beat 2 min.

Add 1 egg
2 Tsp Vanilla
Beat 2 min.

Add 2 1/4 C. Flour
1 tsp. baking soda
Add contents of bowl 1.
Beat 2 min.

Bake 375 for 10 min.
(when you take off the baking sheet, better to let cool and gently lift up with your fingers than scrape with a flipper. the bottoms can crumble with the scraper).

Choose dense or fluffy filling.

For Denser Filling:
1/3 C. Shortening
1/3 C. Butter
1 c. Confectionery Sugar
1/2 small jar of marshmallow fluff
Whip it.
(When I'm feeling really naughty, I double the filling and stuff it BIG TIME!)

For fluffier filling:
1/3 C. Shortening
1/3 C. Butter
2 1/2 c. Confectionery Sugar
1/2 small jar of marshmallow fluff
Splash of milk
Whip it.


Pacifier Cilps

Suspenders.  According to Merriam Webster, they're:
"a device by which something may be suspended: as a : one of two supporting bands worn across the shoulders to support trousers, skirt, or belt —usually used in plural".   

Not in my book.  In my book, they're the perfect item needed to make pacifier clips. 

These little inventions are super handy, not just for pacifiers, but for toys too. 

All you do is sew a little velcro to make a loop on one end.  For one, I just kept the elastic band from the suspenders.  For the other, I removed the suspender strap and added my own ribbon.  It took all of 5 minutes to complete. And the cool part is one set of suspenders makes 4 clips for your baby.  It's handy to clip a couple of toys at a time in contraptions like the stroller.

Cost for pacifier clips:  $5 in the stores.

Cost for mine:  I got the suspenders at a thrift shop for $1.  Which makes 4 pacifier clips.  So $.25 a piece.  

Baby approved.

And the cat would love to get his paws on one too.

Creative Storage

Storage, storage and more storage.  Every home needs it.  What is marketed to us?  Plastic, plastic and more plastic. But plastic seems to break easily, and ends up in the landfill.  Forever.  Here's some storage ideas beyond dressers, closets, cupboards, book shelves and hope chests to inspire you!

Cheese Box.  We keep games in ours.
Fabric bins.  I like these ones that have an opening for labeling. 

A flower pot holds pens and pencils.

Misc. shaped boxes. Ours holds seasonal decorations.

Collector tins. What it says is what's in ours.

An antique picnic basket holds some toys.

Baskets.  Perfect for linens.  And everything else.

Wooden Shaker Boxes.  I used some ribbon to label for quick access.

Metal beach pails.  Ours hold some play scarves and ties.

Glass jars.  Huge ones. This has 5 lb of whole wheat flour in it.  We got ours from a production factory. Wash them up and they're perfect!  Ask a local restaurant...they'd likely have some to share.

Canning jars hold some nuts.

Antique firkins.  Used to be used for dry good storage.  Ours holds newspapers and matches to start a fire. 
Metal bins.  These hold some of our wooden toys.
My pottery collection is perfect for hiding...I mean holding a spare bag of chocolate chips.  Hope my husband doesn't read this blog in detail!

Wine crate.  We use ours for magazines.
Lingerie Bags.  Perfect for storing toys with little parts.  This one holds my husband's lincoln logs that he had as a kid.
Pillow cases.  I store the rest of the sheet set in them.  I store towels in them.  I store toys in them.  When I was young, I used to make them to store my collections in them.  To this day, I have a pillow case with lace that I made as a kid with my cabbage patch dolls and clothes.

This is just the beginning of 'green' storage ideas.  What ideas do you have?


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