Holidays

Five Kid-Friendly St. Paddy’s Day Crafts

 
by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
March 14, 2017
 

5 Kid-Friendly St. Patrick's Day CraftsSaint Patrick’s Day originates from the traditional death date of the patron saint of Ireland on March 17, 461. For nearly 1200 years, he was largely forgotten—but then on March 17, 1631 St. Patrick’s Day was declared a feast day by the church in Ireland. In 1762, the first St. Paddy’s Day parade was held in New York City—and in 1798, green became the official color for the day. It was declared a public holiday in Ireland in 1903.

In the last 114 years, St. Patrick’s Day has become a globally celebrated holiday with annual parades and festivities on six continents—and even in outer space on the International Space Station in 2015.

Last year for the holiday, we shared some of our favorite Irish recipes with you—this year? We’re getting crafty with some good-for-kids DIY projects.

Here are five simple craft projects for your little ones to do for Saint Patrick’s Day:

Coffee Filter Shamrocks - We Know Stuff

Coffee Filter Shamrocksvia We Know Stuf
This was one of my favorites as a kid—and I was glad to find this beautiful DIY blog that summarizes the craft exactly as I remember it! All you need is circular coffee filters, green pipe cleaners, water, and green food dye—and they make an excellent decoration!

Shrinky Dink Lucky Charms – via The Tiny FunnelShrinky Dink Lucky Charmsvia The Tiny Funnel
Who remembers Shrinky Dinks from their childhood? They’re extremely easy to replicate with some #6 recycled plastic, sharpies, and an oven! The Tiny Funnel does a great job of summarizing how easy the project is—and you can make charms in any shape and color! From shamrocks to rainbows, this one is great for any age that can hold a marker! (With parental help, of course.)

Rainbow Glitter Shoes – via The Swell DesignerRainbow Glitter Shoesvia The Swell Designer
Add some color to your St. Patrick’s Day outfit with a pair of rainbow glitter shoes! You can find craft supplies—as well as a pair of shoes in your size—at Goodwill. Be sure to start this one a day or two in advance, so they have time to dry before wearing them.

Mini Pot o’ Gold Party Favor – via Make and TakesMini Pot o’ Gold Party Favorvia Make and Takes
Does your little one have a class St. Patrick’s Day party? Here’s a great little party gift that can start with some easily thrifted terra cotta pots and craft supplies, and are easy for little hands to help assemble.

Eraser-Stamped St. Patrick’s Day Shirt – via Cutesy Crafts Eraser-Stamped St. Patrick’s Day Shirtvia Cutesy Crafts
This craft is easy, quick, and ensures no one gets pinched on St. Paddy’s Day! Add a shamrock to a light-colored t-shirt in this simple, kid-friendly DIY project. All you need is a t-shirt, freezer paper, green fabric paint, and a pencil!

“To all the days here and after—May they be filled with fond memories, happiness, and laughter.” – Irish Toast

 

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Find a gift in our Valentine’s Day Online Sale

 
by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
January 25, 2017
 

Valentine’s Day is less than two weeks away—and finding the perfect gift doesn’t need to break the bank. To celebrate the holiday this year, we’ve put together a selection of Valentine’s-inspired jewelry in our eBay store. It includes necklaces, rings, earrings, bracelets, cufflinks—and more. You’ll find vintage, unique, and designer brand jewelry in the collection.

ALL #GWValentine items come with free shipping—but if you need it fast, you can always select local pickup and pick it up next day at our Flagship Seattle store on Dearborn.

The best part? Every purchase supports Goodwill’s free job training and education programs—your gift to your loved one will make an impact right here in our community. 

Click here to peruse the #GWValentine selection.

Here are a few of the items in the sale:

Valentine's Day Sale: Red Rhinestone Necklace

Valentine's Day Sale: Floral NecklaceValentine's Day Sale: Yellow Butterfly Brooch & EarringsValentine's Day Sale: Vintage Floral BroochValentine's Day Sale: Giraffe NecklaceValentine's Day Sale: Red Rhinestone BroochValentine's Day Sale: Red Rhinestone Choker

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5 New Year Resolutions Goodwill can help you keep

 
by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
January 1, 2017
 

5 New Year Resolutions Goodwill can help you keepIt’s the first day of a new year, and we have high hopes for your 2017!

Starting afresh in the New Year is an excellent feeling—with the renewed commitments to health, happiness, success, and the pursuit thereof. Now is the time that many choose to make changes in their lives—and we can help with some of the most common New Year Resolutions:

For those who resolve to reduce their eco-footprint:
Start your journey toward sustainability by checking out some of the ways Goodwill contributes to a more eco-friendly community. Not only did we keep over 60 million pounds of material waste out of landfills in 2016, but we also enable our community to make eco-conscious consumer decisions in regards to how they dispose of still-usable materials—and help reduce the need for new goods.

For those who resolve to be healthier:
Whether you’re looking to make changes to your diet, add more activity and exercising to your routine, or both—you’ll find what you need in our stores. From health-focused cookbooks and kitchenware, to athletic attire and workout gear, Goodwill is an excellent place to find quality goods at an affordable price. Protip: Looking for high-end kitchen appliances? Check our online stores.

For those who resolve to spend less, and save more:
Living in the greater Seattle area can be expensive—and shopping thrift can help save some of those hard-earned dollars! With a few exceptions, if there’s something you need, you can probably find it at Goodwill—home goods, clothing, décor, athletic gear, toys—the list goes on! Not only do we have a little of everything—but it’s easy to find high-quality name brands at a fraction of retail prices.

For those who resolve to get organized:
Goodwill can help those of you looking to get organized in multiple ways; shed your excess clutter at a Goodwill donation site, and pick up new ways to organize—like filing cabinets and storage bins—at a nearby Goodwill store. Don’t know where to start the process? Hit up our books department for some books like Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying, or visit our Cleaning & Organizing blog category for some tips.

For those who resolve to help improve their community:
Goodwill has many ways you can personally get involved in positively impacting our community through job training and education—and even a number of ways your company can get involved. By donating materials, giving financially, or shopping—you’re helping us fund the programs that we offer  at nine job training and education centers throughout the region free of charge to our students. We also have hundreds of volunteer opportunities every year, for individuals and corporate groups. You can be a single-day event volunteer, or a regular volunteer working with our students. Your company can also get involved by hiring our work-ready students.

Last year, thanks to supporters like you, we helped over 9,700 individuals right here in our region. No matter how you choose to support Goodwill with your New Year Resolutions, ultimately, you’re helping make an impact for our students, their families, and our community. Thank you for your support last year—and we look forward to being a part of your 2017!

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DIY: Homemade Menorahs

 
by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
December 22, 2016
 

Saturday is the first day of Hanukkah! Also known as the Festival of Lights, or the Feast of Dedication, Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean Revolt. It lasts eight days, and is celebrated by lighting candles each night, singing traditional songs, reciting prayers—and like many other holidays—eating traditional holiday food.

One of the traditional pieces of holiday décor—and an integral part of celebrating Hanukkah—is the menorah, a nine-branched candelabrum. Traditional menorahs are usually made of metal, with eight branches—four on either side—and a spot for the shamash (the candle used to light the other candles) in the middle, or somehow separated from the other eight candles.

Since we love doing all things DIY here at Goodwill, we thought we’d share some menorah DIY projects and some tips on making your own:

Tips:

  • Traditionally, menorahs should be placed in a high-visibility location such as a window facing the street, or at the entrance of your home. Think about how to create your menorah to fit one of those spots—and still be safe for burning candles.
  • The candles should be in an even line—so no candle is above another, or in front of or behind another. The candles should be far enough apart that the heat from one isn’t melting another. (The exception is the shamash candle—which should be set apart from the other eight.)

 (For more info on tradition and specifics, here’s an excellent resource.)

Aunt Peaches: Fancy Schmancy Gilded Jam JarsGold Leaf Glass Menorah
This tutorial is a great way to learn how to use golden leaf—and has some great inspiration for using gold leaf on a simple, elegant menorah. Whether you do it with mason jars, or shot glasses—it will look great in a window, on an entryway table, or even on a shelf—without dripping wax, or the open flame of traditional menorahs. See the project from Aunt Peaches here.

Martha Stewart: Hanukkah Candles and MenorahsBlock Menorah
This can be easily done with blocks from Goodwill’s toy aisle, a little paint, and a drill to add holes to hold the candles. With this project, you get to choose your own colors—and make it fit your own home. See the project from Martha Stewart here.

Upcycled Baby Food Jar Menorah
There are many ways to adapt this idea—whether you follow Moms & Crafter’s idea, or combine the gold leaf idea and this one to create something like this unique menorah from Chabad, or adapt our glittered mason jar DIY blog with baby food jars.

ChaChing Queen: Make your own Hanukkah Menorahs – DIY Kids and Adults CraftKid-Friendly LEGO Menorah
Have a child who loves LEGO and DUPLO blocks? Invite them to help build this year’s Menorah. You can easily clean the blocks and add them back to the toy supply after Hanukkah by chipping off the wax that you can—and then washing them in very hot water to melt away the remaining wax. See an example from Cha Ching Queen.

We would love to see your DIY menorahs! Share it with us on Instagram, and tag @SeattleGoodwill and #GoodwillDIY!

 

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Thrifty Kitchen: Homemade Holiday Hot Beverages

 
by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
December 20, 2016
 

Thrifty Kitchen: Homemade Holiday BeveragesNothing pairs with cold weather and the twinkle of Christmas lights like a hot beverage. Whether you’re into mulled wine, hot cocoa, spiced cider—it all just adds a little something to the holiday season. Earlier in our Holiday #GoodwillDIY series we showed you how to make some festive mugs to serve it in—now here is my personal homemade peppermint hot cocoa recipe and slow cooker cranberry apple cider.  

Peppermint Hot Cocoa
This year, to accommodate some dairy-free guests, I made my cocoa with a base of unsweetened almond milk—and it was delicious. You can try it with other milk substitutes, too—or just regular dairy  milk—but whatever you choose, I recommend getting something unsweetened. You’ll be adding plenty of sweetness.

Ingredients:
10 oz. Dark Chocolate Chips
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 Tsp. Peppermint Extract
2-4 Tbsp. Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder
½ Gallon Milk or Milk Substitute

Process:

  1. Start by putting the milk in a pot over low heat—you want to heat it slowly to avoid burning, or a filmy layer at the top. The milk will likely take longer to heat than making the chocolate mixture to go in it will, so start the milk about 10-15 minutes before you start the steps below.
  2. Add the chocolate chips to the double boiler, and occasionally stir/scrape the bottom and edges as it melts. If you don’t own a double boiler, you can DIY one using a pot and a metal or glass bowl. (These items are easy to come by at Goodwill!).
  3. Once the chocolate is completely melted, add the extracts—stirring each time you add some.
  4. Add the cocoa powder as needed to absorb some of the extra liquid you added to the melted chocolate—add enough so there’s no liquid gathering at the edges of the bowl, but not so much that it starts to get clumpy.
  5. Remove the bowl from the double boiler, and pour the melted chocolate mixture into the milk—use a whisk to mix it well!

Once the ingredients are well-incorporated, it’s ready to serve—top it with marshmallows and a candy cane! (Or, if you want to make it an adult beverage—add a shot of Peppermint Schnapps or Peppermint Vodka.)

Slow Cooker Cranberry Cider

Ingredients:
1.5 Liters Apple Cider
½ Liter Cranberry Juice (unsweetened)
2 Cups Orange Juice (Pulp-free, unsweetened)
3-5 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Tbsp. Whole Cloves
½ Cup Sugar (I like to use raw sugar for its molasses-like flavor!)
Cranberries/Orange Slices to Garnish

Process:
With the exception of the garnish, throw it all into the slow cooker on low heat for 3-4 hours. It’s that easy. Once it’s hot, you might want to throw the garnishes in the slow cooker so they’re not cold when you serve them with a hot beverage! (Want to make it an adult beverage? Add a shot of bourbon to the mug before adding the cider.)

Enjoy either of these recipes with friends and family—indoors or out! 

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