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The Results of Labor Day(s)

The Results of Labor Day(s)

Just before Labor Day, my dad came for a quick visit.  Not just a social call, though–this was a working trip for sure!  Before he arrived, Than moved all of our upstairs furniture into the dining room or the garage.


On the way home from the airport the men headed for Home Depot to get everything needed to refinish our hardwood floors.



With my dad as the foreman and Than and his dad as the crew, the floors were patched, sanded, vacuumed, coated, coated, and coated again.


Less than 48 hours later, everything was finished–smooth, shiny, and just waiting to sit for 72 hours before we moved back in.  Wow!!


We even had time for a little sight seeing before taking Dad to the airport.  Every time I see the gleam of my floor, I am thankful for the gift of hard labor by people who love me.



Pinterest Post 4

Pinterest Post 4

One more Pinterest Project Post left over from summer.  It is way more fun to look at photos of my kids doing projects than to look at photos of me prepping dinner or working on my music teaching lesson plans, so enjoy it while you can 🙂

Here they are making tissue paper Sun Catchers.  Hooray for my vinyl machine–the photo I linked to had different instructions, but I used black vinyl stuck on clear transfer tape.  The project was easy for both ages, enjoyable for both, simple to explain and do.  I’m not sure what happened to Nathan’s, but Katya’s is hanging in her window and looks very pretty with the sun shining through.



I think I might have done salt paintings with Nathan once before, but we did them again anyway.  This is one of those projects that is much more about the process than about the product.  As the instructions warned, the salt starts flaking off as the glue dries but watching the watercolor paints creep along the salt lines was fun.


Our final project of the summer was making colored salt jars.  This one was super messy, so I’m glad I didn’t do it inside!  It was surprising how quickly the sidewalk chalk colored the salt and the end results were pretty.  Neither kid mastered the art of pouring salt into the jars, so maybe we will do it again in a year or two when they can experiment more with making hills or designs.



And there you have it–a smattering of Pinterest projects from our fun summer.  I will definitely be looking forward to next year’s plan!

Pinterest Post 3

Pinterest Post 3

I am still getting adjusted to what life looks like with two kids in school, but I can already tell you that there are a lot less things to take pictures of!  Instead of photographing myself doing laundry or answering e-mails, I’ll post some more Pinterest projects from this summer.  Surely that will be more interesting!

This first one we did near the middle of the summer, and it provided amusement for over a week, off and on.  Our DIY “Lava Lamps” were easy to make and fun to demonstrate for people who came over.  The fizzy reaction was short lived, but very entertaining, and we did a little experimenting with different colors and container shapes.



Another well-received project was Kool-Aid Taffy.  I didn’t time things the best, since we ended up making it only an hour before dinner guests arrived so I was crazily wrapping taffy, trying to get it off the counter while I made dinner, but the kids had fun choosing their Kool-Aid colors, buttering their hands, and pulling… pulling… pulling.  The flavor was pretty good, too–a lot like Laffy Taffy, but much stickier.  We would do this again, especially with some friends around to help pull!



As part of my birthday celebration, I chose to do two different fabric art projects with the kids.  I had been looking forward to these ever since I pinned them, and was pleasantly surprised that both batik-type projects worked as well as they did.  The Rainbow Batik project took a VERY long time–lots of waiting for things to dry, and washing out the glue lines was work only mommy had the patience for, but the results were very good looking.  The Acrylic Sun Prints were easier and more fun to make, and the results were also quite pretty.  I would definitely make them again.  Once all our fabric art was done, I backed all the squares with a solid fabric to turn them into napkins or liners for bread baskets.


Hooray for more Pinterest projects!

Pinterest Project Post 2

Pinterest Project Post 2

Some more updates on Pinterest projects that worked, and some that didn’t work so well…


I first saw this tent idea posted here.  It sounds easier than it was for me to do, that’s for sure!  The kids helped a little, but lost interest after a while because I didn’t know what I was doing.  When I finally got it to stay up, they played inside for a while.  Eventually the wind blew it down so I re-constructed it in their secret play area behind the garden bushes.  It stayed up for a few weeks there, providing some extra shade even though it wasn’t really big enough for both kids to fit in at the same time. When we took it down, we saved all the parts so the stakes will be recycled into the garden and the sheets repurposed to protect our tomatoes from the fall frosts.  I would say we did get our money’s worth out of the $3-$5 package of bamboo stakes, but it wasn’t quite as glorious as it looked in the pictures.


OK, this one has nothing to do with the above photo but I didn’t take pictures of a few of these things, so just pretend!  We tried water balloon target practice, an easy and fun activity.  Just throw water balloons or wet sponges at targets drawn on the pavement with sidewalk chalk.  Not quite as fun as it could have been, since my kids are too afraid of losing to actually keep score, but still amusing.

Since a new Goodwill store opened up at a nearby shopping center, we stopped in one day to drop off some excess stuff and I gave the kids permission to each choose one electronic item that cost less than $5.  The idea was they could take it home and deconstruct to their hearts’ content, unscrewing and taking apart and exploring just like this mom described in glowing terms.  Turns out they both picked old computer keyboards, and then (after arguing about who had the coolest keyboard) they had so much fun pretending to type on them that neither was willing to take theirs apart.  Oh well, so much for my creativity–who’s to say my idea was any better than theirs!


This rock idea was prompted, not by Pinterest, but by a visit to our botanic gardens.  Their children’s garden has a pile of rocks with letters written on them in Sharpie marker.  I decided vinyl would be even better, so I used a bag of polished decorator stones and stuck on a bunch of letters cut with my Cameo.  I’ve had lots of fun spelling words in my flowerbed, and Katya has finally come around to the idea of sounding out my messages.  I store the extras in the geranium pot.  The kids don’t use them as much as I had imagined, but I’ve had fun 🙂


My final project for this post–vinyl Mr. Men on our everyday glasses.  A fun way to keep track of who’s glass is whose.  We had to post a picture of all the characters inside the cupboard door so the kids can identify who is who!

Pinterest Project Post

Pinterest Project Post

I am attempting to break the Pinterest cycle of finding a good idea, saving a good idea, going back to Pinterest to find the good idea, and spending 2 hours looking at other good ideas instead of getting anything done at all!!  This summer I have chosen 2 kid-friendly Pinterest ideas for each week we are planning to be home.  I printed out photos of them, and stuck them in my old-fashioned paper calendar.  I’ve also collected any necessary supplies for all of these ideas in the hopes that maybe we will actually have more fun DOING things than just THINKING about doing things!!

(As a side note, here is an interesting and challenging article for me with my love of Pinterest.  It’s called “God’s Board.”  Hmmm….)

Anyway, here are a few things we have enjoyed so far…

Original Post from “Inner Child Fun” about creating a Fairy Mural

Our fairy mural…


The reality of making a fairy mural…

To my surprise, Nathan jumped into the project enthusiastically, so I imagine that Katya’s reluctant response was a reaction to his enthusiasm.  She was annoyingly grouchy for half of the activity, but finally she gradually came around.  We left it up for about a week and they both enjoyed adding more details later.


Original Post from “Irresistible Ideas” about snap painting

Our snap painting…


The reality of snap painting…

This was the perfect project for the day we were staying outside while the kitchen counters got redone.  Both kids had fun, and I did too.  We got quite messy, and the results were more subtle than the photos in the original blog post, but the process was quite satisfactory.  After we tired of snap painting, we used up the rest of the paint on our palettes to make paint blog butterflies.  I had pre-cut the paper to fit on the front of a greeting card, so a few days after our artwork dried we mounted it to make thank-you notes.


Original Post from a Danish website “Badut” about perler bead tops

Our perler bead tops…


The reality of perler bead tops…

I was the only one who actually made a top, since the kids preferred to use the dog and cat and turtle bead forms we have.  Oh well!  I had fun designing them, and they work GREAT.  Both kids enjoyed watching them spin, and we have played with them a few times since we made them.  (It turns out that grown-ups also like tops.  Just ask Daddy or Uncle Nate or Grandpa!)


Tune in later this summer for some more Pinterest Project results!


A Stitch in Time…

A Stitch in Time…

With the help and encouragement of a friend, I proudly completed my first from-scratch sewing project for my daughter.  We used Katya’s old bed sheet and ended up with a cute pillowcase-style dress.  Fun!


Two days after I finished the dress, Katya fell on the back porch and stitches of an entirely different kind were required–the band-aid is covering them up in the photo above!  She was quite upset, understandably, but eventually we all survived.  This week her four stitches were successfully removed, with plenty more drama, and I think all will heal well.  Nearly eight years with kids, and this is our first emergency room visit–hopefully we can wait at least eight more years before our next one!

Pinewood Derby

Pinewood Derby


Nathan participated in his second Pinewood Derby a few weeks ago, and he is getting better at it!  I’m not sure if he will ever have the fastest car on the lot, but I am very proud of him for doing most of the work on the car for himself, and glad for the time it gives Than and Nathan to work together.


I enjoyed going to the Derby and serving breakfast for everyone, the ever-popular steel-cut oatmeal bar.  Yummy!  Katya came as a very enthusiastic cheering section, supporting her big brother well.  Nathan also had his grandpa and two great grandpas in his cheering section, and of course Than was running the event, so it turned into a good family morning!


Christmas Crafts

Christmas Crafts

There is plenty of creating going on around here!!  I won’t bore you with photos and descriptions of it all, but Katya and I had lots of fun with this one…

At Thanksgiving, Katya fell in love with this unusual homemade rabbit at Bonzo’s house.

She was heartbroken to leave it there, so I promised we’d make one when we got home.  Now she and Nathan are both proud owners of similarly unusual bunnies–go figure!  I also enjoyed making the cereal box gingerbread house (based on instructions from Inner Child Fun) that has velcro on it for decorating, re-decorating, and decorating again.  (I think I like it more than Katya does.  Maybe I need to make myself one!!)

Family Art

Family Art

What to do with a few free hours on a Saturday afternoon?  How about a painting project in the garage?  A huge piece of paper, some bottles of washable paint that needed to be used up, and here’s what we came up with…

Now for your turn to have some fun.  Can you guess which family member painted each of these parts of the masterpiece?


Correct guesses will be notified by mail, so post your votes in the comments and we’ll see who is right!