Celebrate Earth Day with These 6 Eco-Friendly Crafts for Kids

Earth Day is celebrated each year in April, and the date is coming up quick. The movement began in 1970, and, every year since, people spanning the globe have come together to help take care of the planet. While habits like recycling and minimizing consumption are important to practice year-round, the annual holiday is the perfect time to do something extra or help kids understand the importance of protecting our planet. If you are looking for a great way to involve your family in the Earth Day festivities, check out these eco-friendly crafts for kids.

Leaf Prints

Making leaf prints on newspaper or wooden materials is a fun craft that is perfect for young children. It can also be performed on blank t shirts for a design that kids can wear and show off their eco-friendly enthusiasm to their friends. All you need is an assortment of leaves, acrylic paint, newspaper, saucers and a plastic soda bottle. Start by taking a walk around the yard or in the woods to collect a variety of different types of leaves. For older children, this is a good opportunity to try to identify different types of leaves and the trees they came from.

When you return home, pour a small amount of acrylic paint in each saucer. A small plate will work as well. Spread a sheet of newspaper on a large, flat surface. Carefully dip each leaf in pain, then place it painted side down on the newspaper. Repeat this until several leaves in varying colors are arranged on the newspaper.

Cover the entire project with another large sheet of newspaper. Carefully roll the soda bottle over the top. Remove the top layer of newspaper, and then help your child carefully remove the leaves. When you’re finished, you and your child will have a colorful set of leaf prints to display.

Potpourri Pine Cones

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Help your little ones make your home smell amazing by making potpourri pinecones. This project is appropriate for kids who are preschool-age and older, and it’s easy to complete in an afternoon. You will need pinecones; ½ cup of water; ½ cup of glue; cinnamon, cloves, or other yummy-smelling spices; a paintbrush; and a mixing bowl, a spoon, and a plastic bowl for each spice.

Go for a walk in the woods and help your child select a variety of pinecones. Larger ones are better than tiny ones. When you return home, protect the work area using newspapers. Combine the glue and water in a mixing bowl and put each spice in its own plastic bowl. Use the paintbrush to coat an entire pinecone in the glue/water mixtures. While the glue is still wet, roll the pinecone in the spices, making sure to cover the entire surface. Repeat with all your pinecones.

When you’re finished, set them aside to dry for several hours or overnight. Once dried, the fragrant pinecones can be displayed in a decorative bowl or basket.

Recycled Wiggle Worm Toy

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Who says fun toys have to be expensive? Help your child make their own using recycled materials you already have lying around your house. You will need a foam plastic egg carton, cardboard tubes from toilet paper, twine or string, tape, paint, and paintbrushes.

Start by painting the cardboard tubes in different colors and allowing them to dry. Cut two sections from the foam egg carton. These will be used for the worm’s head and tail. Cut a 2.5-foot length of string. Help your child thread the string first through one of the pieces of the egg carton, and then through the cardboard tubes and the other piece of egg carton. Leave at least a foot of string at the head end for pulling. Tie knots at both ends and secure the string on the tail end using tape. Decorate the face. Your child will love pulling the worm along and watching it roll and wiggle about.

Painted Rocks

Rocks are the perfect canvas for expressing your creativity, and painting them is a project that kids of all ages can enjoy. Thanks to the popular activity of hiding decorated rocks for others to find, this project is also fun for adults.

To get started, you only need three things: rocks, paints, and brushes. Smooth rocks work better for this project than rougher ones, but rocks with unique shapes work well for creating certain designs. Use smooth, round stones to create a family of ladybugs, or use larger stones to create gratitude stones to present to family and friends. Your creativity is the only limit when it comes to this project.

Acorn Frame

An acorn frame is an easy, eco-friendly project that is perfect for gift-giving. You only need a few basic supplies: enough acorn tops to cover a frame, white craft glue, and a wooden picture frame.

Start by drying your acorn tops. Place them on a cookie sheet, and then bake them in a preheated 225-degree oven for 40 minutes. This removes excess moisture and ensures that the acorn tops will adhere properly. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool. Apply white glue to the frame generously and cover with acorn tops. Work in sections until the entire frame is covered. Once you’ve covered the frame, use glue to fill in any gaps between the acorns. Let dry overnight.

Once dry, you can paint the acorn tops or apply glue and glitter for a more colorful, decorative finish. You could also add a twine ribbon to give it a bit more style.

Magazine Bead Bracelets

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If you have a bunch of magazines lying around, you have the perfect material for making beautiful beads. Magazine bead bracelets are easy to make, and it is a project that is enjoyable for both younger kids and teens. Gather up these supplies to get started: magazines, white glue, scissors, straw, and pipe cleaners or yarn.

Cut strips out of colorful magazine pages. The size doesn’t need to be exact, but the width should average between .5 to 1.5 inches. Roll a strip of magazine paper firmly around the straw. After you wrap it around one full time, put a line of glue down the strip’s inside length. Carefully roll the strip around the straw. If a bit of glue squeezes out, that’s okay! When you’ve wrapped the entire strip, rub excess glue around it to secure the end. Slide the bead off the straw. Wipe glue residue off the straw and repeat until you have enough beads for your bracelet. Allow beads to dry completely on a nonporous surface, and then string them on a pipe cleaner or a piece of yarn to make a bracelet.

Other career paths to consider before College

career path

Studying for a business qualification is a popular option for people with ambition. Such qualifications provide an individual with the sort of credibility that is essential in planning a successful career path, while studying for them helps to build a solid toolkit of skills and knowledge that can be applied in a wide range of professions.

A business qualification does not always have to lead to a career in business. In fact, it can be the first step into many different careers. This range of options is of course a positive thing, but can be daunting, and it is important to give serious consideration to the sort of direction in which you would like your qualifications to take you so that you can tailor and focus your studies accordingly.
Continue reading Other career paths to consider before College

Everything You Need To Know About Private Tutoring

Most students need help with their academic workload from time to time. Some get the help they need from teachers, siblings, parents, or friends. Others get the help they need by hiring private tutors. Private tutors generally do a good job in helping their charges to understand the material, prepare for tests, and improve their grades overall. The key to the successful relationship between student and tutor is finding the right fit. With teachers, the upper-class, and many others offering private tutoring to supplement their incomes, parents have a large pool of candidates from which to choose.

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Choosing the Right Tutor

There are a number of things you have to consider when selecting a private tutor. One of the most important is their knowledge of the subject in which they will be providing assistance. Not only must the tutor know the subject, they must also have the ability to share the information with the student in a way which will help them to understand and use the information to improve their skills.

Communication skills

The way a tutor communicates to a student is very important. Student and tutor must be comfortable asking questions and working together to find the solutions. The tutor must be able to share information and explain theories and complex concepts clearly and in terms the student can understand. This will make the tutoring sessions more effective and enable the student to get the most out of it.

Preparation

Proper preparation is vital for a tutor to be successful. It may require doing research or gathering materials that will make the subject matter easier to understand. The tutor must be able to provide all the detailed information the student requires to master the subject. This may require the tutor to brush up on the subject and identify ways to convey it to the student. The tutor must also be organized and confident. This will engender trust from the student and make the tutoring sessions more productive.

Methods of Revision

The tutor also need to know effective ways to help students who are behind in their work or need to better understanding the information their teachers shared during class. This may require using a number of different methods of revision to make this process easier and make it fun if possible. See how to make homework time a happy time blog from a private tutor. Ideally, the tutor should impart some techniques for revising the student can use even after the tutoring sessions are over.

The Best in 2014: Best 10 IT exam vendors and Top 10 USA University IT programs

With the evolving nature of technology, the demand and value of IT certified professional increases as well. As the labor statistics suggest the IT technology and is expected to develop 22 percent and creating 758,800 job positions by 2020. Earning an IT degree not just enhances the skills and knowledge area of individuals but also secures a safe future and growth in the industry. With the demand increases the importance of good vendors and universities providing these IT certification programs. Certification through reputed vendors and universities hold the most importance in the Industry.

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Although a list of vendors and universities are available, the best ones cover most of the demand and market value. Following are some of the best IT exam vendors with top 10 USA University IT programs:

Apple

Known for its IOS software, this smart phone producing company is one reputed IT program providing vendor. Apple offers a list of training and application development programs with effective and informative course line. Apple certification exams are based on its technology and related information.

Test-king.com

Individuals looking for cost effective and information learning can apply through TestKing, one of the top 10 learning platform and vendor. It provides practice exam and related software trainings.

Microsoft

Internationally recognized, Microsoft is known as the king of IT technology. The certifications under its title are internationally respected and valued for its highly competitive and challenging course. Individuals are trained for various programming and development skills related to Microsoft technology and other.

C++ Institute

C++ is one of the top 10 and highly regarded IT exam providing vendor. C++ certifications guide towards application development, programming and various programming languages. C++ certifications are mostly based on information based on its technology.

Pass4sure.co.uk

For Practice exams and questions Pass4Sure is a famous and top ranked platform. It provides data and information regarding various certification programs and related companies.

Hp

Hewlett Packard is a famous laptop and other product producing company. HP certifications trains and equips candidates with all the required skills and operation related to HP products.

Braindumps.com

Braindumps is another famous platform for 200-001 vce guidance and training for various 642-813 pdf certification programs. It provides real 70-411 exam exam questions and aid you with required lab and exam guides.

Oracle

Oracle is globally respected company famous for its technology and database management. Providing certification and training for its various programming and management it is ranked among the top 10 vendors for IT exams.

Motorola Solutions

Motorola solutions, also ranked top 10 provides communication products to various organizations across the globe. Its related certifications focus on product development and deployment services training.

Actualtests.com

Actualtest.com is another famous vendor for IT certification training and practice courses. It provides a range of exam tests and information for various certifications.

Top 10 USA University IT programs:

Kaplan univerity

Kaplan University prepares students for the required skills and knowledge to advance in information and technology. Kaplan provides certification, certification training and related information for Cisco networks, Oracle database system and administration, Microsoft systems and Linux system administration certificate.

Aspen University

Covering the most regarded IT certification programs Aspen University provides Project management, java development, web development, application development and system management certificate programs and trainings.

Park University

Another top 10 university, Park University provides a Cisco and computer networking certificate programs. Their training and course outline is well recognized and valued.

University of Phoniex

University of Phoenix is ranked amongst the top 10 USA based IT program providing university. The university covers various certifications including Cisco networks certification, A+ Fundamentals, Web administration, Database administration and more.

University of Arizona

University of Arizona also provides a range of certificate programs that are globally recognized.

University of Houston

University of Houston is also ranked amongst the top 10 universities of USA for providing the most regarded IT certification exams. Some of the most famous ones are PMI certifications, SHRM course, Piping technology, and system security program and construction management.

Southern Polytechnic State University

Cornelll University USA provides Management development certification programs and is recognized for its detailed training courses.

Boston University

Boston University covers the highest IT certification programs including information and technology, Information security, Digital forensics, web and application development and database management certification.

Brandman University

With a range of IT programs under its title, Brandman University is listed among the top 10 universities of USA with online certification programs. It provides a list of IT programs and development certifications including Cisco (CCNA, CSCU), emerging telecom, PC technology, IT training, IT security and other networking program trainings.

ECPI University

ECPI, also ranked among the top 10 universities also encompasses a list of IT certifications that are globally demanded and recognized by famous organizations.

Mid-Winter Thoughts: A Continuum of Consciousness

Is Consciousness a Universal Aspect of Life?

harvestingMany years ago, when I was harvesting peppers and tomatoes in my very first yard-garden soon after my husband got out of the navy, a friend and I got into a discussion about the then-current ‘fad’ of talking to plants (and playing them good music) on the assumption that plants must be included on a supposed continuum of consciousness that extends through life itself from the smallest to the greatest. We had just recently given up eating meat in favor of an ovo-lacto vegetarian-like diet, no longer wishing to participate in the industries of mass death represented by the consumption of meat.

My friend asked if I wasn’t also guilty of visiting death upon those poor tomatoes and peppers, if I was willing to accept that a continuum of consciousness did exist. I laughed a little bit, and explained that those tomato and pepper plants I’d raised from carefully tended seed and interacted with regularly as they grew to maturity and fruited had an existence entirely limited by the length of the growing season. They would die regardless of whether or not we ate their fruit, as producing the fruit – and the seeds inside the fruit – was their ‘purpose’ in living at all. And because I cared enough about them to bring them to life from seed and tend them so lovingly, my time-limited tomato and pepper plants would be thoroughly insulted if we didn’t thankfully enjoy their fruit to the nourishment of our longer-lived and far more conscious bodies, perhaps save some seeds toward the perpetuation of their species during the next growing season.

Now, I admit it was a pretty silly conversation. But it was the ’70s, we were just beginning to set out on the path of homesteading and desired self-sufficiency, and plant consciousness was a regular big deal in some corners of the “expanded consciousness” new-agey movement. And truth is, if my family were in dire need of nourishment and it were not readily available for some reason, I’d have no problem killing, cleaning, cooking and eating whatever critter would best serve the need. Even rattlesnakes or lizards (taste like chicken), squirrel, deer, bird of any usable size, etc. Heck, during the Depression my Mom lived on her grandparents’ farm in Georgia because there was no work in Miami for her father. She managed to cut off the end of her finger trying to get the head off a rooster with a hatchet for Sunday dinner, so learned how to ‘flip’ the heads off chickens instead. People will do what they need to do to stay alive. My issue was primarily that I wasn’t willing to raise animals to kill – or kill them – and don’t believe that having some gigantic death industry do it for me so I don’t have to think about it is all that justifiable.

That’s just me, of course. Many homesteaders raise and slaughter their own animal livestock, which I believe to be an honest approach to eating a meat-based diet. Good on them to be willing to so honestly deal with the higher-grade consciousness of animals in that way.

Land Mines in the 2013 Farm Bill

7557830828_cd10ac63d7_mEvery five to seven years a re-vamped farm bill makes its way slowly through the U.S. House and Senate in slightly different versions, to be later reconciled and presented to the full Congress for vote. As usual, there are provisions, proposed new rules, and industry-sponsored riders slipped into the bills on both congressional levels that require some education for us homesteaders and smaller producers and which – once we know about them – will require some direct communication with our members of congress to argue for their defeat.

In what Mother Jones calls Congress’ Big Gift to Monsanto and AlterNet dubs The Monsanto Rider, the 2013 bill is shaping up to be one of the most outrageously Big Ag coddling bills in history. In fact, as AlterNet’s authors present, this bill is likely to require the Secretary of Agriculture to grant a permit for planting and/or cultivation of genetically engineered crops without consideration of environmental impact.

Even as the New York Times details the continuing corruption of the organic foods industry by Big Biotech, Big Ag and Big Food to create what it calls “Big Organic” that isn’t so organic after all. Corporations such as Kellogg, PepsiCo, Heinz, Coca-Cola, Cargill, ConAgra, General Mills, Kraft and others have managed to gobble up the vast majority of our nation’s organic foods industry, and by virtue of that standing, get to alter and amend the rules small producers, homesteaders, wholesalers and retailers worked so hard on for so long under the USDA Organic label. To the point where some of the remaining organic food businesses – like Eden Foods – have dissociated themselves from the USDA’s corrupted program entirely.

Most very small producers like myself don’t really have to worry too much about certification for the purpose of supplying our harvest to big producers, and I admit I have let my certification lapse because the “extra” money I’d hoped it might bring in doesn’t cover the costs associated with inspections and such. I have plenty of customers for what I do sell, all local and willing to pay a premium for my non-chemical, non-GMO practices. I know many other small producers who have also kept their customer base more local, for much the same reason. Our CSA shares programs, organic tailgate and farmer’s markets, many organic restaurants, bed and breakfasts, etc. are always looking for more, so the market isn’t saturated yet.

At the same time, most small producers and homesteaders I know are like me in that they do purchase quite a lot of food from the grocery store for our families. Not everything can be bought fresh off the truck from a trusted farming neighbor, in all seasons of the year. So of course the integrity of the national organic foods system affect all of us, and thus we must all care about what happens to the standards in an era of such gross corruption and collusion between government and business that nobody can trust anyone on that level anymore.

The Organic Consumers Association has a great article about the situation, which includes the entirety of the problematic riders in the Farm Bills on both sides of the congress. Its list of what the riders seek to accomplish:

• Outlaw any review of GMO crop impacts under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, or any other environmental law, or by any other agency other than USDA.

• Prohibit other agencies (like EPA, wildlife agencies, etc.) from offering expert input in the USDA’s review process. If the USDA determines in its review process that potentially harmful effects may occur, those findings are barred from informing any approval decision.

• Force backdoor approval of GMO crops, even if USDA has not previously reviewed and approved them, through unreasonably short deadlines that result in automatic approval if time (180 days) runs out.

• Codify a dangerous policy of allowing transgenic contamination in crops and foods.

• Limit EPA’s oversight of biotech crops engineered to produce pesticides.

I encourage my readers to read the links provided and educate themselves about the new corporate corruptions of national farm policy responsibilities and goals. And to let their legislators know how they feel about this corruption and the proposed farm bill’s elevation of corruption to the status of national policy.

The Mountains Cry: A Vibrant Voice Passes On

Mountains_CryThis blog has covered many environmental issues, perhaps the one dearest to the heart has been the astounding destruction wrought by King Coal on the beautiful, peaceful, ancient mountains of southern Appalachia in the name of profit: Mountaintop Removal. The [West Virginia] State Journal reports that long-time environmental activist and tireless mountainkeeper Larry Gibson died September 9th at the age of 66 while working at Kayford Mountain, his family home in Raleigh County. Larry was born at Kayford Mountain, and spent the last decades working to protect Kayford and all of these majestic mountains from King Coal and the rampant destruction of mountaintop removal.

Larry Gibson traveled across the country to speak at schools, churches and other public gatherings to spread his simple gospel about these mountains: “Love ‘em or leave ‘em – just don’t destroy them.” Gibson established the Keeper of the Mountains Foundation in 2004 to support mountain communities threatened by King Coal and its mountain-shearing machinery, and the family requests donations to the Foundation in lieu of other expressed condolences. A private funeral is planned, with a public memorial service to be announced later.

One of the most heartfelt remembrances is from Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the Beyond Coal Campaign, entitled The Mountains Weep for Larry Gibson. Rest in peace, friend.

Please see the post The Last Mountain: A Call to Action for many more links to coverage of Mountaintop Removal Mining in this and other blogs, educational resources and activist groups.