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Pinterest Projects

Pinterest Projects

Here’s round-up #1 of some of the fun projects we’ve done this summer.


Ice Cream Art with Real Sprinkles!

This turned out really cute, and it was fun to see the different ways each person customized the original idea.  Using real sprinkles was fun (instead of glitter).  Maybe I will make a smaller version for the front of a birthday card someday…  The downside?  Sprinkles bleed a little in the glue, and now they occasionally fall off the artwork and roll all over the floor.  (And no, I don’t require kids to dress up for crafting–the kids were playing butler and queen before we did the project above, hence the unusual artist attire…)

A great deal on tape from Sam’s Club put me on the hunt for duck tape crafts.  Our best use so far was covering the fronts of our summer journals.  On a different afternoon, we tried using the tape for various boats.  We tested out Sponge and Duct Tape Boats and Origami Duct Tape Boats.  The sponge ones floated better and are cuter, but the origami ones required less in the way of additional equipment.



I got some liquid watercolor paints for us this summer and we have used them in lots of ways.  My favorite is painting this modern house kit that we got from Target.  It turned out really cool and I had fun doing the project with the kids.


We have also used our paint for Crumpled Paper Art, traditional watercolor resist painting (painting over white crayon drawings), rubber cement resist, even shooting watercolor at paper using little pipettes.  Katya displays her favorites as an art gallery on her bedroom door.


Katya and I had a fun morning creating Ladybug Rocks which are now hiding in my garden.  We didn’t follow the instructions exactly, but ours turned out great.  It is so fun to find them peeking out of the garden wall around the patio!



In the “mommy only crafts” department, I worked with my new Sharpies (thanks, mom) to create these cool Kaleidocycle paper toys.  They are kind of mesmerizing to play with, although they did take a long time to color.

Wow, that’s a longer list than I thought!  I have a few more projects to share–some that worked, and some that really didn’t, so I guess I’ll make one more post.  Hooray for summertime crafts (and for actually DOING some of the things I so abundantly PIN!)


The Pine “Dog” Derby

The Pine “Dog” Derby

Just a quick post, mostly to show you the picture of Nathan with his Pinewood Derby car…


He came up with the dog idea himself, and Katya had fun helping add the ears.  The LEGO driver was a nice touch too.  The best part about the Pinewood Derby this year was that Uncle Nate and Great-Grandpa Train were both there to cheer him on.  4 generations together is always something to remember!

Car Travel

Car Travel

The older my kids get, the more I enjoy long car trips with them.  Here are a few favorite things we did on our recent spring break road trip:

Treats–I love an excuse to get a few fun snacks that I don’t normally buy to enjoy in the car.  I also have fun picking out two or three small toys, packages of stickers, new markers or crayons–mommy shopping time!  Mini stuffed animals are favorites.


Books and CDs–Nathan now enjoys reading to himself in the car, and Katya took advantage of the time to practice her reading skills too.  I do a little reading out loud, but we never seem to get through a chapter book.  Adventures in Odyssey CDs (from the library) are great ways for driver and passengers to pass the time.


Timeline–On the way to St. Louis, I made a list of interesting places or sights we passed along the way.  On the way home, I wrote each one on a little scrap of paper and taped them to the roof of the car.  As we passed things we could rip down the paper and see our progress.  Nathan enjoyed watching for upcoming sights and Katya did better knowing how close we were to home, without having to continually ask “how many hours left?”


Crafts–I always bring way too many craft supplies along, but it keeps me and the kids amused so I guess that’s OK.  I enjoyed trying out some of the folds from my Practical Origami book, and they doubled as useful containers for passing snacks to the back seat.  I also experimented with Zentagle drawing.  My favorite kid craft was the decorate-a-doll packet I made using patterns from the diy network.  Katya had a great time making her girls look fancy with sparkly sticker jewels and various clothing pieces cut from scrapbook paper.


Games–Nathan is more of a game person than a craft person, so he and I had fun tracking down license plates (a classic) and doing other verbal or pen-and-paper games I downloaded from 123 Homeschool 4 Me.  I also have several laminated games from a road trip PDF book purchased a few years ago, and we like drawing on them with whiteboard markers.

I always have way more projects planned then we actually get to, and some things are much more popular than others, so I’m looking forward to our next trip to try out some more new ideas!


April Fool’s Day

April Fool’s Day

In honor of April Fool’s Day, I prepared a special dinner.  We ate out of pie pans with odd sized silverware on a beach towel tablecloth.  The kids were a little hesitant at first, but joined in to the fun without too much prodding.  Here’s what we had…


Meatloaf prepared in silicone cupcake liners with blue mashed potato frosting

Purple cauliflower–it came that way from the store!

Red and green orange slices (blood oranges and ugli fruit)

Asparagus–nothing silly about that, it was just on sale

Jello in our juice cups



Sometimes Pinterest Really Works

Sometimes Pinterest Really Works

Here is a rare Pinterest project that actually worked about as well as I thought it would!

I found instructions on Pinterest for a popsicle stick catapult.  Believe it or not, I actually managed to pull the supplies out of my well stocked craft cupboards, make a test version, and then assemble one with Nathan less than a week after I pinned the original idea.  Now, in case you aren’t impressed, you should know that I have pinned over 3,000 recipes, craft ideas, kid games, quotes, and other random things that seem cool.  I have actually completed less than 10% of those.  Don’t ever be tempted to think that my real life actually resembles my Pinterest dream life!!

Anyway, here is Nathan shooting pom-poms into pots…



For more about inspiration, including the goods and the bads of Pinterest, I found this blog post at (in)Courage to be helpful…

“How to Live an Inspired Life”



Happy first day of spring!  Thanks to the inspiration of my sister and some fun hours spent crafting with a friend, this little family flew in this year to help us celebrate…


Now, hop off your computer and go walk around a yard somewhere to see if anything green is poking up yet.  I will too…

Looking for Leprechauns?

Looking for Leprechauns?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!  Katya’s class has been trying to track down the leprechaun causing mischief in their room.  Katya wrote him a note at school, hoping he would read it and get caught in their leprechaun trap.


(It says, “Dear leprechaun, Come to your new home in Littleton Prep.  They are just for you.  From Katya)

You may not know what a leprechaun looks like, but thanks to a printable game from “Or So She Says…“, I gave my kids a chance to show you.


If you notice a little man running around that matches either of these artistic renderings, grab him and hold on tight!



Now, you may be thinking “That Michelle, always doing some cute little creative activity with her kids.”  You would be correct in thinking that I like creative activities, but I must also be honest and tell you that during the aforementioned activity, there was resistance to the idea of actually following the instructions specified by rolling the dice, a reluctance to take turns and play they game, and outright hostility when the instruction rolled was to draw something on the other person’s leprechaun.  Therefore my Pinterest-y little plan ended up with me cleaning and picking up, trying to uncover my long lost kitchen counters, while the kids drew their own pictures, happily disregarding the game idea.  Such is the way of most of my Pinterest adventures.  Don’t let any mischievous leprechaun fool you into thinking otherwise!

Pinewood Derby

Pinewood Derby

The annual Pinewood Derby again featured men, boys, track, cars, and me setting up an oatmeal bar (delish!!).


This year, however, there was a new category for creative car designs and Nathan jumped on board.  Meet “The Porcupine”…


He was entirely Nathan’s idea, weighing in at 15 ounces.  Nathan hoped the weight would help him be the fastest, and while he did have a way of keeping the other cars pushed out of his path, he didn’t end up getting any speed prizes.


The Porcupine did get an award for creativity, however, and his owner was very proud.  (The pink-dressed two-ponytail cheering section was pretty excited too:)

Catching Up-The Basement

Catching Up-The Basement

Other than Christmas, the major event of our Christmas break was the re-construction of the basement.  Than was able to use his remaining vacation days of the year to completely repair all of the damage done by the flood in November.  Pergo, trim, wainscoting, chair rail, door frames, caulking, tile, touch up—he labored and labored, with help from his dad and my dad and some friends from church, until the basement was back to where it used to be.  I am amazed by his skill, his patience, and his persistence in getting it right without letting perfectionism become an obsession that hurt our family time over the holidays.  Look at the progress…

Here is what the basement used to look like:




Then the water came…



Next came the restoration company with their dehumidifiers and heaters and drywall saws…



Now, enter my intrepid husband (and a surprisingly helpful, at times, daughter too!)  He was joined at various points by his dad, my dad, and a few friends from church.


Drywall patched, then floors beginning to return…


And a family art moment where we decorated the old linoleum tiles with Sharpie markers before covering them up.  Hopefully we will not rediscover our work, but can leave that fun to some far-in-the-future remodeler!


Now all the wood floor done–no easy task, starting in the corner of my office and making it lock together continuously all the way through the main room and down the hall to the spare bedroom!


And then, by Christmas Day…



The guest bedroom and bathroom still weren’t finished…


But by the first week of 2014, we had…



The work is done and we are happily settled back in.  All in all, it was just shy of two months from the flood date to the “work finished” declaration.  Our receipts are submitted and we are praying for favor with the powers that be who are deciding what to do by way of restitution.  I’ll let you know how it turns out!


A Peek Into the Past

A Peek Into the Past


School project time!  Crafts and homework came together when Nathan had to create a diorama to illustrate the Anasazi Cliff Dwellers.  With a lot of time, a lot of patience, and a lot of discussion, here is what he came up with…


The instructions were very clear that he was to do the work himself (oh, so hard, for mom to keep her fingers off!), so even Katya wasn’t allowed to put anything in the box for him.  Not to be left out, she grabbed an extra shoe box and made her own diorama!



I’m sure there will be many more of these in our future!