Anybody else here live off of coffee? For the hubs and I, it’s just part of our morning routine, and as integral and necessary as say brushing our teeth or getting dressed. Don’t expect me to function if I haven’t had my coffee. But speaking of coffee, as you stumble your way into the kitchen, wiping the sleep from your eyes, how much thought have you given to the coffee grounds when you add them to your Keurig or coffee pot’s filter? If you’re like the hubs and I, of course you didn’t give them a second thought, before you used them OR after you threw them away. They’d served their only purpose in life, creating the lifeblood of our people. But if you’re also like us, one day you’re going to have a friend over and offer to make them coffee. Then you’re going to react with confusion and dismay when you toss the used coffee grounds out and they react like you’ve just thrown dollar bills down the disposal. And then you’ll be thanking the dear sweet Lord for the sweet sweet nectar of the gods while you’re lectured educated on the many, many, many used for coffee grounds. And then you’re not going to be able to forget. And then it’s going to click that you could be saving some money, and since you’re not above being cheap to do so, you’ll do some research and before you know it you’ll see coffee grounds floating down the drain as money washing away or it spilled on the counter as loose change to be scraped together. And pennies make dollars, people.
I can’t get a single thing by my youngest. At four, hell hath no fury like him discovering me throwing anything away, ever. I have to smuggle out crayons like a Mexican drug lord. While I really hate throwing things away that I can re-purpose, I can’t stand to see his tiny little hands cramped up, struggling to make the tiny broken bits of crayons create the perfect little pictures he has in mind. So yes, me, the meanest Mommy in the world, takes them away. Contrary to his belief I don’t actually throw them in the garbage though. I have accumulated quite a stock-pile in my craft bins. When I saw heard about this idea, I just knew that this was the reason I had held onto them. Now, using nothing more than the summer heat as a power source, we now have a whole new batch of fun crayons to create with. At his age, he thought it was magical as we periodically checked on the melting crayons and how they ‘transformed’ from something old and broken into something brand spankin’ new.
For my older boys, I used this as a teaching point and science experiment to help explain how truly hot the inside of a car gets on a typical summer day. When we did this it was only about 85 degrees out, and pretty comfortable outside. However, our car was sitting in direct sunlight and I think they finally saw why their are always ads on tv and the radio about not leaving your children or pets in the car. While comfortable outside, they watched as our car was transformed into a virtual oven.
Before this experiment, especially with the oldest two sons, I would face a chorus of complaints, and ‘but why‘s’ when they had to come into stores with me while I was out running my errands. Since the car crayons, not a single issue. Instead of spending time wasting my breath lecturing them on the potential ‘dangers’ (the eye rolls suggest they typically think I’m just being an over-protective mother), it was so much easier to simply show them.
Summer Car Crayons
old crayons, papers removed and broken into pieces
silicone baking mold, or silicone ice tray
a hot summer day
Add a variety of broken crayon bits into the molds. You can combine similar colors, or a mix and see what combinations you end up with.
Place mold on a cookie sheet for stability and sit on the dash board of your vehicle.
It will take about 2 hours for the crayons to melt all the way. Periodically, come out to check on them and view their progress.
When fully melted, use pot holders to carry the cookie tray back inside.
You can leave them to cool on their own, or place in the refrigerator to help speed up the cooling process.
When completely cool, pop out your new crayons and get coloring.
During the summer months, I love being able to sit out on my porch in the evenings and enjoy a good book, watch the kids play, and just take in the beautiful weather. I’ve always loved the look and feel of lit tiki torches on summer evenings. Something about it just totally sets the scene for me. There prices, however, horrified me.
I was so excited last summer, when I came across little globular tabletop torches in the store. For a great price!! I could totally envision the queenly atmosphere they would create. The part of my brain that logically rationed as Queen of my Castle I deserved to stoke my fairy-tale inspired fire, demanded their immediate purchase. I automatically saw my little piece of far, far away where I could decompress, and just lose myself for a few minutes each evening.
Naturally, I came home with a matching pair, assuming we’d live out the rest of our days creating beautiful, enchanted Summer memories together. Unfortunately, my happily ever after just wasn’t meant to be. Both pots (let’s face it, at this point their ambiance setting fairy God mother had abandoned them and, in my eyes, their clock had already struck twelve) leaked horribly. Despite my valiant husband’s best efforts, they just weren’t salvageable. For me, the whole affair was quite tragic. So much for my illusions of grandeur.
Ever my knight in shining armor, my husband came to my rescue! If I couldn’t buy the perfect table top torch, then he would make me one! This was his brain child.
This easy to make tiki torch was a roaring success. Using citronella infused torch fuel I’m able to keep the mosquitoes at bay, all while adding a little ‘enchantment’ to my evenings. My still full wallet was feeling pretty enchanted too!
DIY Tiki Torch
old, sturdy glass bottle
2 washers that fit the lip of your bottle
rubber grommet (make sure it will fit tightly down into your bottle creating an airtight seal that prevents the wick from moving around)
tiki torch fuel (I used one with citronella to keep the mosquitoes away)
tiki torch wicks
Add fuel to your bottle. Be careful not to over fill.
Place a wick into the bottle. Leave about 2 inches exposed above the lip of the bottle.
Thread the end of the wick through the grommet, pushing the grommet towards the bottle opening. Force grommet down into the neck of the bottle, leaving it flush on top with the lip. Make sure to hold onto the end of the wick so it doesn’t also get pushed down into the bottle.
Take one washer and thread it onto the wick, pushing it down until it rests on the top of the bottle. Make sure there’s not gap between the bottle and washer # 1.
Thread a spacer onto the wick and push it down until it’s resting flush against washer # 1.
Thread washer # 2 onto the wick, pushing down until it is resting firmly against the spacer. The washers will keep the flame away from the glass preventing it from getting hot, at all.
Push the exposed wick down into the bottle, leaving only about 3/4 of an inch of wick exposed and ready to light.
Allow the wick time to completely saturate with tiki torch fuel before lighting.