Free printable Advent coloring book and Bible Christmas coloring pages - Grand Rapids Holidays |

Advent is the Christian season of preparation before Christmas. It begins four Sundays before Christmas. The Catholic church entered Lent on November 30, 2014. During Advent, people practice gospel virtues of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. They follow Advent calendars with Bible readings and prayers.

For a more interactive children's Advent calendar, why not use Christmas themed coloring pages? Have kids color one each night before Christmas. Here is a free printable Advent coloring book with Bible pictures and readings from the Christmas story. DL-TK has assembled a 24-page Bible coloring book, with one page for each day of December to Christmas

Free printable Advent coloring book and Bible Christmas coloring pages

Meijer Black Friday 2014 ads and Black Thursday deals

Meijer superstores announced Black Friday 2014 ads and Thanksgiving weekend deals November 6. Breaking with its long tradition of closing on Thanksgiving, Meijer has been staying open the entire weekend in recent years. Meijer is open 24 hours daily, but sale prices for each day go into effect at 6 a.m. on Thursday (November 27), Friday (November 28) and Saturday (November 30). Here's what's on sale Black Thursday, Thanksgiving. Meijer Open Thanksgiving, Black Friday 2014 ads and Black Thursday deals - Grand Rapids Holidays |

Make Despicable Me Minion Halloween costumes green, cheap and no-sew

"Despicable Me" is one of the hottest kids' movies of all time. What's so crazy-popular aren't main characters, but the supporting cast--aka those cute little vitamin-B shaped Minions. Minions continue to place in the Top 10 Halloween costumes for 2014. But you don't have to buy a minion costume. Here are easy DIY Despicable Me minion Halloween costume patterns and ideas. They're cheap too, if you use recycled materials, scraps and secondhand clothing.  Make Despicable Me Minion Halloween costumes cheap and no-sew - Grand Rapids Holidays |

Healthy, Lycopene-Rich Tomato Snacks and Appetizers to Lose Weight

I'm Lady Greenwise and I'm all about living green in lots of ways--eating locally grown, using sustainable, renewable resources, saving money, living minimally, losing weight and being less dependent on the corporate greed machine.

I do that in different ways. One is to enjoy local produce in season. Take tomatoes, a Michigan staple. How to I love tomatoes? Let me count the ways. They're are low-calorie, lowfat and yummy! Eating more veggies and fruits has helped me lose 100 pounds.

Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and lycopene (a carotenoid that fixes everything from artherosclerosis to asthma, HPV to prostate, cancers to cataracts says Web MD)

Not to be indelicate, but lycopene is linked to sexual prowess. It keeps everything down there happy and working well! To that end (sorry, no pun intended), here are 10 of my favorite tomato snacks and appetizers. Healthy, Diet, Lycopene-Rich Tomato Snacks and Appetizers to Lose Weight.

How to Get a Bat Out of the House Fast and Safe (to you and the bat!)

People often think, if a bat gets in their house, that it flew in by accident. That's not usually the case. Bats have echolocation--nature's GPS--and rarely get lost. If you see one bat, it probably means a bat colony has chosen to roost in your attic or chimney. Lucky you, right? This is common in older homes and those near a river or bayou. Bats will also roost in disused chimneys, where the owners installed a new furnace with side venting.  Bats are awesome little creatures, but don't belong in the house--so here's How to Remove a Bat from Your House Quickly and Safely (safe for you and bat!)

Interior Wall Paint: Flat, Eggshell, Satin, Semi-Gloss or High-Gloss Which is Best?

I'm big on budget DIY home remodeling. So I have used a variety of paint styles. Many readers have asked which I like best. I found it's not as much about brand as paint style and the application you'll use it for. In this article we will focus on interior latex paints as those are safer. Latex paint is low-odor, non-toxic and much easier to work with. I just about knocked myself out, using Kilz in an poorly vented bathroom. Don't do that. Be sure you use low odor and keep air moving! So, back to choosing paint. Here's my guide Interior Wall Paint: Flat, Eggshell, Satin, Semi-Gloss or High-Gloss? #bubblews

Best Nature Centers and Hiking Trails in West Michigan

Michigan is blessed with many wonderful state parks, national forests, lake and wildlife attractions. As homeschoolers, a great deal of our schooling revolved around field trips, wildlife explorations and nature study. Whenever we'd visit a new place, city or county, we'd immediately check out local nature trails, state and country parks and national forests. Here are our favorite West Michigan nature centers, hiking trails and nature activities.

  DeGraaf Nature Center: Holland, Michigan. This is a woodland nature center with historic pioneer cabins and costumed docents. DeGraaf has a lovely wetlands walk. In the spring, DeGraaf hosts a maple sugaring event. Students can touch, taste and collect sap and see it cooked into maple syrup and maple sugar.

  P.J. Hoffmaster State Park and Gillette Nature Center: Muskegon, Michigan. On the southern end of Muskegon Country in Norton Shores, Gillette Nature Center hosts a lovely interpretive nature center, dunes exhibit, theater, interactive animal activities, plus miles of woodland trails. Walk through an old growth forest. Learn about a dune's geological structure. Climb the Dune Staircase to view the panorama of the dune and Lake Michigan. Hofmaster Nature Center hosts Snake Days, Frog Days, Insect Days and Bird Days, as well as the Annual Trillium Festival.

  Blandford Nature Center: West Leonard St. near Grand Rapids, Blandford has an entire historic village, one room school house, blacksmith shop, carpentry shop, narrated barn exhibit, settler's cabin and general store. Blandford Nature Center hosts a spring sugaring event and Civil War infantry re-enactment. Blandford has habitat trails: pond life, meadow, wetlands and forest. There are animal exhibits and an animal rehabilitation hospital which guests may visit.

  Great Lakes Visitor Center: Ludington, Michigan. Located on the Au Sable River, that runs to Lake Michigan, through Ludington State Park, Great Lakes Visitor Center has a fine interpretive center. A sky-view dune walk navigates the
forested back of the dune. Stroll Lake Michigan's shoreline or follow the wooded 1.5 mile trail at Ludington State Park to visit Big Sable Point lighthouse

  These nature centers and nature trails are an outdoor classroom full of learning experiences and activities.

How to Decorate a Bike for a 4th of July Parade Using Recycled Decorations

I love doing holiday crafts with kids. But I hate spending money on craft supplies. Want to decorate kids bikes for 4th of July parade? Here's a guide to bicycle decorating using super cheap (mostly free) recycled Christmas wrapping paper and birthday party supplies. How to Decorate a Bike for a 4th of July Parade

Once a Week Cooking Recipes for Economical, Healthy 2 for 1 Meals

I am a Domestic Goddess Mama. My domain is kitchen efficiency. I am Empress of Living Simple, Tsarina of Tightwad , Duchess of DIY, Baroness of Budgeting. To achieve all those, I've created 2-4-1 recipes. Entrees are repurposed for several dishes, so I get twice the meals for half the work. I use once-a-week cooking strategies, doing the bulk of my cooking on Sunday when I have the most time, for the week ahead. Here's a weekly meal planner that serves six people with seven dinners. There are usually lunch leftovers. These recipes feature lighter calorie options and are nutritious, balanced and healthy. Once a Week Cooking Recipes for Economical, Healthy 2 for 1 Meals

Affordable Father's Day Gifts at All Price Ranges Dads Will Love

Father's Day shopping is tricky if you don't know what dad wants. And holiday gift-giving can get expensive, period. So you want the most bang for your shopping buck. Here are top 10 affordable Father's Day gifts in different price ranges. My husband enjoys these and your dad will love them too!  Affordable Father's Day Gifts at All Price Ranges That Dad Will Love

Green, Healthy Summer Picnic Diet Appetizer, Snacks Recipes

I've lost 100 pounds, dropped eight sizes. As summer picnic season nears, I'm considering eating plans to maintain weight loss. Open houses, potlucks, holiday cookouts, BBQs, grilling--great for feasting. Fasting, not so much. Here are green, healthy, diet appetizers and snacks recipes for Memorial Day and summer.  Memorial Day Summer Picnic Diet Appetizer, Snacks Recipes

Cut Graduation Costs, Budget Open House Tips

May and June are the season -- for senior prom, graduation and open houses. Parents, if you have a graduating senior or a student going to prom, be prepared: it's expensive. Here are ways to trim spending on prom dresses, tux, graduation supplies and open house. Lady Greenwise (that's me) has graduated three seniors and picked up some penny pinching tips along the way.  How to Trim Spending on Senior Prom and Graduation

Cut Grocery Bill in Half--Lose Weight, Eat Healthy Diet Food

I've lost almost 100 pounds gained from two stillbirths, early menopause and taking the antidepressant Paxil (known for causing weight gain, says Mayo Clinic). Left is 2011. Right photo is 2014.  I lost weight by following Dr. Oz's advice and swapping fatty, high-carb foods for healthy, fat-blasting foods. Lots of people tell me diet food is more expensive and they can't afford it. They're right--about the commercial kind. But not natural, healthy diet food. I save money--like 50-percent off my grocery bill--buying it.
Want to Cut Grocery Bill in Half? Eat Healthy Diet Food

Healthy Nutritous Diet Foods Grocery List

Living green means eating "green"--with  healthy, natural, locally-grown plant sources, vs. meat-based diets.  I've lost 96 pounds. I use several diet techniques including making healthy food swaps like the kind in Men's Health Eat This, Not That. Here's a grocery list of what should be in your shopping cart if you're trying to lose weight. It helps you save green, too! Healthy Diet Foods That Should Be in Your Shopping Cart

No-Sew Swag Drapes, Recycled Bed Sheet Curtains

Earth Day in April 22. But I celebrate it everyday. Frugal is my middle name. D, I and Y are my initials and resourceful is my main character trait. I'm always looking for ways to create expensive decor with recycled materials. Today's tip: reuse top sheets for no-sew swag curtains. When I buy a package of sheets or bed in a bag, I don't use the enclosed top sheets. For me, they are just something extra to wash and an extra step in the bed making process. So what do I do with all the extra top sheets? I have quite a few uses actually. Here's one.

DIY No-Sew Swag Drapes and Curtains with Recycled Bed Sheets 

Printable Vintage Easter Greeting Cards, Clipart

I love vintage clipart. You can make your own stationery and greeting cards and save a bundle with free printable images. Or you can make and send ecards. Save green and live green with Free Printable Vintage Easter Greeting Cards, Retro Nostalgic Clipart

Stations of the Cross Prayer Garden Plants, Shrubs, Bushes, Flowers

Prayer, meditation and devotion are not just cerebral activities. True prayer involves the whole person. Catholics use body gestures, sign of the cross. We kneel, we bow, genuflect and sometimes prostrate ourselves. Prayer is multisensory--we smell incense, hear chant, eat and drink the Precious Body and Blood of Jesus. The perfect setting for praying the Stations of the Cross is in a garden where you smell flowers, walk, kneel, hear birds. Here are suggestions to make a prayer garden. Lent and Easter Prayer Garden: Plants, Shrubs, Bushes and Flowers

Convert Old TV Aerial Antennae into a Wind Turbine

T here's not much my DIY husband can't do. A small-scale Renaissance guy. He's been researching alternative energy. He's always looking to repurpose and recycle. He shared an idea that was nothing short of genius: turn our old two story TV antennae into a wind turbine. And he wants to expand the wind farm to help our sister parish in Haiti. We May Convert Our Old TV Aerial Antennae into a Wind Turbine 

Diet Recipe Meatless, Sugarfree, Gluten-Free (Taste Great) Breakfast Salad

I'm compiling gluten-free, sugarfree and meatless recipes for Lent. That's a season when we Catholics give up things that are bad for us. My gang has sworn off meat and I'm dieting. So what about breakfast? Must it necessarily include meat, sugar or bread? Nope. I eat breakfast salads. And before you shout "BLECHH!!!"

try a bite.   Diet Recipe Meatless, Sugarfree, Gluten-Free (Taste Great) Breakfast

Diet Recipe Vegan Garam Masala for Lenten Kitchen

 It's Lent for us Catholics. I'm not giving up any particular food, but I am dieting. I have lost 95 pounds. And my husband and daughter have given up meat. So I made a vegan Indian masala. Each one-cup serving has about 100 calories, little fat and 10 grams of protein. It's similar to butter chicken. Diet Recipe Vegan Garam Masala for Lent - News - Bubblews

Free Crafts and Printables for St Patricks Day, Easter

Live green and save green. Use free resources and services. One of my favorite is free printable kids' activities. I find printables all over the web. One of my favorite sites is Martha Stewart. You can print crafts for every holiday including upcoming St. Patricks Day and Easter. There are printable templates, patterns, stencils, cut and paste, decorations, greeting cards.  This image is from Pic Gifs. Free Crafts and Printables from Martha Stewart

Leftover Bread Use-Up Breakfast Casserole Recipes

My children did it to me again. Begged for something, promised to eat it, then let it sit. And I can't eat up their cast-offs as I'm dieting. I found withered English muffins, bagels and hamburger buns all perilously close to spoiled.

But I was raised by thrifty Dutch women. Throwing out food was a mortal sin. So I purged cupboard, fridge and freezer of other leftovers and concocted one of my leftover use-up recipes: breakfast casserole.  Leftover Bread Use-Up Breakfast Casserole 

Decorate with Old Maps

 I love old maps--I guess I'm a cartographati! Many people have told me they shared a fondness for maps. I'll take that one step farther--I decorate with them. I save old maps from garage sales and National Geographic. I was given a bunch of old ones when I homeschooled. I went through and removed them all. Use recycled maps or print some with these links Decorate Your House with Old Maps 

Problems with Younkers Coupons, Credit Card, Return Policies

Younkers and I have a love-hate relationship. They love me and I hate them. I kid. But I do have some issues with the store. First, the coupons have too much red tape and too many exclusions. And their return policy is terrible. Read more  Hoping To Return My Boots to Younkers - News - Bubblews

Beware Tylenol, Prescription Painkillers, Opiods for Arthritis

I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in my left shoulder last year. Now its spread to both shoulders and neck. Working hunched over a computer does not help. I sometimes take Ibuprofen or Aleve (sodium naproxin)--NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) drugs. They're the only OTC drugs that will bring swelling down. Tylenol won't. I took my mother in law to ER a few months ago with swollen joints. She'd been seen a few weeks previously and was told to stop taking Tylenol and start taking the Advil/Aleve. And beware of opioid painkillers. They don't work for arthritis. Tylenol, Prescription Painkillers, Opiods Don't Help Arthritis

Winter Safety Precautions Keep Heat to 70

Big news in the US is snow and record low temperature. In Michigan we know cold. And on this side of the state winter translates to "lake effect" snow which translates to "monster truck loads" of wet, heavy sleet.

Here's a cold coping tip. Do not set your thermostat too low. I know, it's expensive. Believe me, I know. Just ask my gas company. But high bills or not, lowering thermostat too far can cause super dangerous situations: Winter Safety Precautions Do Not Turn Heat Too Low - News - Bubblews

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Freelance writer, Top 100 Yahoo! Voices, Yahoo! News, Shine, Michigan, Detroit), blogger, teacher, mom of 4, happily married 25 years. Graduated GVSU 1986, psychology/general education and special education. continuing ed up to present. Certified MI teacher. Writing Michigan history mystery, children's Gothic fantasy. Areas of expertise: education, relationships, mental health, nutrition, history, world cultures. Passions: faith, Catholic church, sustainable living, interfaith initiatives, living simply that others might simply live. Working on MA in EI education. 

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