Category Archives: Simple and Quick

colorful child labor

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Hiya Monkeys,

[If you don't want to read my update and want to get straight to the monkey PROJECT madness, skip to SUPPLIES in middle of this post. No feelings hurt. I respect your precious time. BUT if you are a wee-bit curious, read the next bit.]

All right, I’ve had a few inquiries about the monkeys and our Net hiatus this year. I appreciate the warm encouraging words and requests for MORE monkey togetherness projects from this ummm rather quiet blog, so for YOU and the lovely children in your life, I am recommitting to Monkey Chi and shall be sharing some more fun, colorful, and nature-infused ideas in the months to come.

Not to bore you too many details regarding my hiatus, but I MUST share a little because it’s been an amazing year of action and growth AND support from the Raleigh/Wake Forest/Apex communities. I’m SOOO grateful! This year I activated my own monkey CHI creative powers and started a little program called Creative GIRL, offering playshops and retreats for girls and women, supporting personal creativity and self and community acts of kindness.

In 2014 I aspire to get non-profit status and hope that in addition to working with girls in my daughters’ school, I’ll also be working with economically-limited girls in my community.  (Ok, a bit of a plug, but we’ll need business sponsors and I’ll need a lawyer. If you are interested please email me. I need all the help I can get to help as many girls as I can.)

My new aspirations have left me little-to-no-time to reflect on the togetherness prosonshine_monkeychi2jects my family tries to fit in, let alone to post here. BUT this too is shifting. Regrouping and shuffling and I hope to be posting more often, esp. when my heart has something unique to share. There are thousands of AMAZING blogs out there for family crafts and creativity and I’ll be sharing a page with many links for your perusal, but my site is a little different intention. (If you are ONE SUCH blog author, email me as I’m starting a list of blogs and would love to include your.) The projects I personally share try to align with the creativity, presence, Earth, conservation, reusing stuff, and sharing original ideas.

SOOOooooo, it’s in this energy that I’m about to share our latest Togetherness Project, an idea I’ve not seen out there. Twinkle and Sonshine helped me with this one. This activity will put the kids to WORK and they will have so much fun, they won’t even realize that thanks to ME and this monkey toot– you shall have clean toilet bowls! EeeeeeeeEEEE!

Supplies
baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
assorted food coloring, a small separate bowl for each color. (Add a little water so there is enough to get into a dropper.)
large baking tray with sides, or tub
dropper or straws
(for later you’ll need distilled white vinegar)

This post is dedicated to all the Mamas and Papas out there, who –like ME–have renounced daily toilet bowl cleaning to spend more time WITH kids.

Spread baking soda (BS for short)in aarttoilet_monkeychi2013 thin-ish layer across the baking tray, so you can’t see the bottom.

Give your monkeys a dropper or straw. For dropper, they’ll just simply squeeze and fill bulb with color, then drop all over the BS, to make a picture. (If using a straw, they can fill by placing the end of straw in the bottom of the bowl and placing a finger over the top of straw to catch the liquid.) Carry it over to the BS and release.

Play with your monkey and experiment dropping the colors on top of each other in the BS.

When finished, take all the BS and put it in a bag with a 1/2 cup measure. Monkey will then put BS in the toilet (ok, I’m starting to get giggles about all the BS flying in this post… toiletart_monkeychiLOL!). Following the BS, and using a different 1/2 cup measure. monkey will add about 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar to the toilet. There WILL BE a mini volcano bubbling in your toilet. Those bubbles are cleaning and germifying your commode, while your monkey deeeeEEEEEeeeelights! Get the toilet bowl scrubber out and this concoction will offer light abrasive friction, adding to the cleanability of this project.

Simple, yes? Fun? EeEeEEEEeeee! Yes! Science experiment like, yes, happy MONKEYS? Yes! and even more awesome, CLEAN TOILETS wtihout all those dangerous, nasty bad-for-the-frog chemicals.

Ok, ok, I know … YOU (and the frogs) want to thank me, right?! To that I say “Don’t mention it” but actually I mean … DO MENTION IT!!!! to everyone you know! Please help us add to the monkey fanbase: Follow and Share Monkey Chi on Pinterest and Monkeys on Facebook. PINney and LIKEy.

But most importantly, get off the computer and enjoy those little monkeys now. Science has proven that time is speeding up.

love, blushing & flushing,
becky & the monks

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Monkey news and Weighing in~a special project for self acceptance

I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam.”
Popeye

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Hiya Beautiful Creative Monkeys!

Before I share this month’s mind-altering (you’ll see what I mean when you read it) togetherness project, just wanted to provide a little update on our lives and Monkey Chi. It’s been a busy summer at the Monkey House. The girls (Twinkle and Sparkle) just finished a 5-week break from school. It was awesome and we did and made so many fun things, but I’m sad they’re going back to school. I’ll miss my creative playmates–my biggest fans. On the other hand, Sonshine (my now 3 year old son) will LOVE having all my attention.

etsy and FACEBOOK
We worked an art sale last month which led to us reopening our Monkey Chi Monkey Do Etsy shop. It’s a small shop, but we’re continuing to add stuff, so if you are in need of handmade and natural gift ideas for your monkeys, please check us out.  We’ll be adding more things to our shop in the weeks to come, as we settle back to our school routine.

Pinterested?
We joined Pinterest. Talk about time spent online … but it’s a useful and colorful way to organize all that stuff you’d like to make, do, or just look at. It’s simple, beautiful and inspirational. Check out my personal Pinterest and our Monkey Chi Board and if you likey, follow and repin!

becky’s site for sunshine
Oooh, and I wanted to take a moment to invite you to check out a site I created for Sunshine! It began last year and it’s blossomed and become such a happy creative outlet for me to share my personal poetry, my art, and videos and things I find inspirational. Consider yourself invited! If you enjoy it, you can subscribe on the site.

Ok, now we’ve got all our news and updates out of the way, here’s this month’s togetherness project.

Togetherness projects are activities we do with someone we love: things that are creative and different. We disconnect from technology and stay totally present in the creative process, without judgment AND without cell phones, to enjoy complete presence with our loved ones. As we become more and more dependent on technology, it’s really important that we CONSCIOUSLY take time away from all these amazing sites and devices and remember that simply being present is the greatest gift we can give to someone, especially our children.

weighing in on self acceptance… our latest togetherness project idea

I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam.”
Popeye

For most of my adolescence and through my mid 30s I struggled with my body image. Sadly, I think it’s atypical for a girl/woman NOT to. As I’m raising two amazing daughters (my teachers) I am committed to loving my body and doing things that celebrate and honor the entire physical mass that I am, no matter how squishy–or whatever weight I am. I Yam What I YAM! I believe one of the greatest behaviors I can show my children is demonstrating my own self love and self respect. It’s NOT easy in this day and age.

I pray my children never have to liberate themselves from automated negative thoughts about their weight, or that they ever define their self esteem or value by a number on the scale. That’s what I used to do.

The girls and I talk often about the media’s manipulation of personal feelings and thoughts to create an insecurity within us: Marketing messages attempt to convince us that our negative and feelings of inadequacy can be relieved by purchasing their product. (yeah, right!)

If you have children in your life, I encourage you to share this amazing video with them. Although it’s sponsored by an enormous personal product company,  it delivers a powerful message through imagery. Start an on-going conversation about the edited images surround us, permeating our culture–on TV, billboards, and of course talk about the intentions of magazines and advertisers.

The bottom line is, we are all only slightly perfect! Nobody’s perfect. Nobody … no BODY! It’s true! We each are beautiful unique expressions of life energy: perfect individuals-perfectly individual, but too often we compare ourselves to others something happens and we lose the real and honest perspective of ourselves.

For years I struggled with my weight–or should I say, my perception of my weight. A few years ago I stopped obsessing over my caloric intake and started focusing on eating for good health and energy. But still, somehow that scale literally weighed on my emotions. I’d get on it, and if I weighed  a few pounds more, I felt crummy. But the truth is, no matter what my weight, I am still all of me!

I don’t feel crummy any more… my scale makes me feel good about me, no matter the number!

Supplies
♥  a blank scale
♥  colorful paint markers
♥  Mod Podge acrylic sealant (flat or glossy, your choice) and a brush or foam applicator brush
♥  fabulous colorful, magnificent, empowering accepting words!

Doing this togetherness project is an excellent time to talk with children about the power our internal thoughts have on the way we feel about ourselves, (if you like this project, you may enjoy the Mirror Mirror project).  As my girls get older (they are now 11 and 9) I’m hoping this ongoing conversation will set them up for a better chance at positive self image, despite our culture’s attempts at undermining.

Here were some of our words: sparkly gorgeous alive bella sweet awesome cool neat Bundle of LOVE sexcy kooky creative one off, rosy, fabulous, Bright, loved, amazing, lovely, good, shiny, adorable, powerful, super, magic, brilliant, groovy, radiant … they make me feel so good.

After you’ve taken turns writing all the words, then finish by coating it with an acrylic sealant like ModPodge.

This project was so much fun, and refreshing. The only guideline I suggested was we couldn’t use a word that described our actual weight, so words like skinny fat or thin (and others) were not acceptable. Those words have nothing to do with our reality or our health. Those words are judgmental, subjective and dis-empowering.

What do you think? What do you feel when you get on the scales? Do you have daughters or children who could benefit from your healing your own personal body image issues? Do you like this idea? Please share in comments on our site or on our facebook page.

Wishing you lots of love, creative moments, and beautiful discussions with someone you love,
Becky and the Monkeys

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Final Week (four) Monkey Chi Rice and Thought Experiment

Here is the final looksy* at our jars of rice. This week we noticed the most dramatic visual changes. The rice has shrunk in size and in jars #2 and #3 the rice and water have separated even more than last week.

We’ve had friends from around the world sending thoughts to our rice: Thinkers from United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, India, Australia, Malaysia, Brazil, New Zealand and Lithuania. (We are sending you lots of love as we think and talk about the people and places we are hearing from.) If I missed your country, please email me or post a comment on our Web site so we can give a shout out to you too!

We hope to shoot our final Ta-Dah-Big-Reveal video this weekend, to be shared with you as soon as it’s edited and uploaded by our dear friend and talented videographer, Adrienne Drum. (Here are linkies to Monkey Chi Rice Experiment video she created for us on Vimeo or YouTube .)

Our intention for this togetherness project is for our experiment to be a catalyst for conversation in your own home, about the power our words and thoughts have on ourselves, each other and our world.

Have you talked about the power of thinking? The power of words? Had any crazy conversations about our rice? We’d love to hear from you. (Comment below on our site.)

It’s not too late to join in our final week. Simply send two thoughts a day to our jars: one positive happy thought to the “I love You” jar, one negative yucky thought to the “You are Gross” jar. (Ignore that other one completely.)

The more the Monkeyer

Oh, and if you share the experiment with your friends via Facebook or email etc., let me know and I’ll enter you  into our drawing to win Monkey Chi Fun including a DIY paint kit, and hide and EeeEeeEeek Monkey game, and other monkey surprises. EeEeEeEe!

Happy thinking,
Becky Jaine and the Monkeys

P.S. The photo is slightly different from previous weeks due to technical changes. I wanted to post photo yesterday, but my computer died and I had to move to a new system and navigate Adobe Photoshop (for the first time) to create this image. TMI? :O)