Monthly Archives: April 2010

We Now Commence Craziness

The next few days are going to be a wee bit hectic around here.

Thursday we’re driving out of town to go buy a new (to us) van.

Friday we’re driving both vans the 2 1/2 hours home and celebrating Jack’s 7th birthday with a party in the park.

Saturday we’re celebrating Victoria’s 12th birthday with a party at a different park.

Sunday we have a day off.

Monday we’re celebrating Alex’s third birthday. Yeah, probably at a park!

Tuesday, I am really going to rest.  :)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a whole lot of packing, planning, prepping, driving and baking to do…

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Beauty in Parking Lots

Victoria has a new (to her) camera and has been itching to go to a greenhouse with it.  The other day she saw one in the parking lot of the grocery store and she ducked in for 10 minutes of snapping while I picked up goodies for lunch.

My sweetie came back a few minutes later with a memory card full of fabulous photos.  She gave me permission to share some here…

Aren’t they wonderful?

She has a photograph in this month’s issue of New Moon Girls magazine, too.

If you haven’t introduced your kids to photography, I highly recommend it.  Even inexpensive digital cameras can do some pretty amazing things these days.   Jack and Anna also love to take photographs, and I love to see their pictures when we download them later.

Victoria  has decided that she wants to be a freelance photographer and children’s book editor (and adopt 8 daughters and live on a farm near the ocean!).  I think she’s off to a good start.  :)

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!  Looking to make some fun and easy memories with your little (or big) ones this week?  Here’s a few ideas…..

1.  Go walking in the rain.  Or drizzle, if your rain dance doesn’t work.  ;)

2.  Visit the humane society and volunteer to brush cats, exercise kittens and take dogs for walks.  They’re generally happy to have extra help and the animals love the attention.

3.  Decide on a totally silly word or saying to say when you answer the phone.  A friend of ours absentmindedly answered the phone recently with “Three!” and the kids and I found it so hilarious we vowed to do the same.  Hint:  caller ID makes this much easier to do without too much harm or embarrassment.

4.  Go off the beaten path, literally, and explore somewhere you’ve never been before.

5.  Play an old fashioned game with your kids like marbles, hopscotch or jacks.

6.  Grab a pack of colorful sidewalk chalk and head out to make the world more cheerful.  Have the kids leave happy faces, sweet notes, rainbows, silly cat faces, flowers, goofy aliens, you name it, in various places just to make people smile.

7.  Play mud tag.

8.  Get a DVD of a favorite TV series from your childhood from Netflix or the library and watch it with your kids.  Prepare to feel old and cheesy.  ;)

9.  Plant a row of sunflowers and see if you can get them to grow taller than the kids.  Even better, see if you can get them to grow taller than you!

10. Make a bean teepee for the kids.  This year we really must finally get to this project!

Have a magical week!

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Craft Sampling: Pop Bottle Paint Prints

I saw this craft all over the internet this month and something about it appealed to me.

The idea is simple enough — use a plastic pop bottle to stamp flowers in paint.  The bottom makes the flower and the lid makes the center.

I had the kids bring the paints out to the picnic table, grabbed some pop bottles from the recycling bin, assembled some paper and gathered all of the kids (plus an extra adorable toddler, courtesy of the neighbors).

And… it was a bit of a bust.

We are an art-loving family and crafts tend to go for hours, but this one just didn’t do it.

Annalee made one picture and announced she was going to bicycle to a friend’s house.  Jack did two and asked if he could be done.  Asked if he could be done!!!!  Now THAT’s a first at our house.

Even Victoria only made 2 or 3 before moving on to other activities.

And our neighbor’s tot… she only wanted to watch.

Only Alex spent more than a few minutes on it, and that was because I let him make glorious messes mixing paint colors on his paper plate with the bottom of his bottle.

Some elderly neighbors stopped by to check out our craft and they thought it looked darling.  I had thought it looked darling too, but it shows what grown-ups know.

I usually know better, but I was sucked in by those cute little flower prints.

I think the main reasons it was such a dud here were that:

1.  There was no real room for personal creativity. It is the classic “Here’s what you do and here’s what you do it with and here’s how it should look” craft.

2.  There was little sensory pleasure to it.

Part of the fun of art for little ones is tactile. Sometimes that means literally getting their hands into gloopy, slippery, silky, squishy or otherwise fun stuff. Sometimes it’s sensory in another way though.  There is something very satisfying in pounding a golf tee into a block of styrofoam or a leftover Halloween pumpkin.  There is an inherent fun factor in squeezing beeswax and clay and homemade playdough and mud balls.  There is a fantastic smoosh and thwack when we stamp with sponges and other squishy things…

But pop bottles are hard.  They don’t squish or thwack or give or slide or anything really.  Even I noticed it as I tried my hand.  There was no FUN to it.

Perhaps we’re craft snobs.  Maybe we’re spoiled.  Maybe we were just particularly scatterbrained and hard to please that day.  But it’s a craft I’m checking off my list.

Luckily, there’s still several thousand left on my list to try tomorrow.  :)

Any suggestions?  I’m always open to trying several thousand and one!

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Wise Words

“Discipline isn’t just about winning or losing.
Every power struggle offers you the opportunity
to connect with your child or disconnect.
The relationship you will have with your child
when he’s an adolescent
lies in the words and actions you use today.
Ultimately your real power is in that emotional bond.”

–Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
Kids, Parents and Power Struggles


I had this long story from today that I was going to share on this theme, but I think Ms. Kurcinka said it well and I have to get up early for a 1900’s era birthday party.  Sometimes less is more!

Happy Saturday!

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Plastic Bag Flowers!

Look at these adorable oversized flowers made from plastic bags!  I’m actually wishing we had more plastic bags so we could make up a bunch.  :)  Head over to Growing Up Creative to find out how to make your own!

Edited to add:  The blog seems to have gone down but thanks to the Wayback Machine, you can still find the instructions here.

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Filed under neat stuff elsewhere

Happiness Is…

Art with the neighbors…

Picnics in the back yard…

Digital cameras…

Ten year old gourmet cooks…

Zany photo shoots…

Daddy time…

Playing in so much mud that the tub looks like this after Mama hoses you off…

What’s making you happy these days?

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