Tag Archives: kids

Green Eggs & Ham? Yes, please!

Standard

Long and long ago, I stumbled upon a doodling technique that I kind of became obsessed with. I would absentmindedly fill random pages with these doodles. One particular day, I filled in the doodles with red and white:

doodle

“Hmmmm,”I said to myself, “I like that. It’s very Dr. Seussy.” (And, in case you didn’t know, I love me some Dr. Seuss.) And then Crazy Me piped up and said, “Hey, what if I painted a whole wall like this?! That would be amazeballs!” Plus, I always wanted to turn our playroom into a Dr. Seuss room. So when I brought this earth shattering idea to my husband, he wisely agreed to let me do what I want. (He is a wise man.) But he also wisely suggested I do it on the shorter wall in the playroom, rather than the biggest one (which was my original plan). I promptly poo-pooed that idea. Because BIGGER IS BETTER!

But really, it was a wise suggestion, which I eventually adopted after enough time had elapsed to pretend it was my idea. And it’s a good freakin’ thing I did because these kinds of projects always turn out harder and more time consuming than you think they will, right? Of course right.

So painting one wall turned into painting all of the walls and the shelves and purging the toys and replacing the honkin’ big falling apart wardrobes where games and toys lived and replacing the light fixture and…well…you know how it is…

DrSeussPlayroom

So blah, blah, blah and yadda, yadda, yadda, here are the pics you came for. I will try to keep the commentary to a minimum and in the captions. Enjoy.

PlayroomPics7

The view from the doorway

PlayroomPics16

Facing the Nothing-Exciting-Here wall, where we will eventually hang a flat screen television, but it just gets to be boring for now.

PlayroomPics13

Storage bins for seating and toy storage. Let’s take a closer look at that Mom’s-Gone-Crazy wall, shall we?

PlayroomPics4

Whoop! There it is! Don’t ask me how long it took. It was basically eons. And I eventually recruited help from an amazing friend who doesn’t hate me for being psycho.

PlayroomPics12

And above the Mom’s-Gone-Crazy wall, we have the movies…

PlayroomPics8

…And some books. (So I forgot to go hunt down all of the Harry Potter books before getting this picture. Obviously, they’re being read. As they should be.) And also…

PlayroomPics3

Because Dr. Seuss.

PlayroomPics10

Facing the back wall.

PlayroomPics17

Another one of my crazy ideas. I actually made this shelf long before deciding to mega-doodle on the wall. FYI – Michael’s crates are super flimsy and probably not the best choice for creating precariously balanced bookshelves. You’re welcome.

PlayroomPics6

Facing the corner.

PlayroomPics5

Can we just take a moment to ogle this light fixture? It was my birthday present. How can you not love a light like that?!

PlayroomPics11

You can only play with us if you have a star on your belly. Just kidding. You can’t play with us.

PlayroomPics14

Facing the gallery wall. Let’s look a little closer at a few things…

PlayroomPics2

PlayroomPics15

Green Eggs and Ham? Yes please!

PlayroomPics18

Personalized family string art. Go ahead and look up ribald. We won’t judge.

PlayroomPics9

And last but not least, our growth chart rulers. Let’s not discuss the photo of our youngest child, mmmkay?

So there it is. For the record, this is the first time (and probably the last) that the playroom has ever been this clean, which lasted just long enough for me to take pictures (because I banished the children) and then it was trashed again. I actually took a picture of what it usually looks like. But it was so bad, my camera ate it rather than let it become public.

Have any questions about what you see? Feel free to ask! I’d tell you that tutorials for several things will be coming…but let’s be honest. I have no plans to tutorialize anything here. I mean, it took me 6 months just to add the last few touches and get these pics up. I would love to answer some individual questions if you have em, though!

Advertisements

How I’m Teaching My Kids Some Good Values…with a little help from Hogwarts

Standard

Soooo…I know it’s only been 2 weeks since I said goodbye to blogging, but…I FINALLY implemented an idea I came up with back in December and I must share! So I guess that means I’m back again, even if only for today.

What is this idea that made me come back, you might ask? Well, to be as excited about it as I am, it probably would have to do with Harry Potter. And it does. Of course it does.

Hogwarts Points

I’m pretty sure it’s a law that you can’t be related to my mother and not love Harry Potter. (My husband is a law breaker, but we just pretend not to know.) Since my kids are right now quite into Harry Potter (Side note – just this morning my 8 year old asked how old you have to be to go to Hogwarts, and when I told him 11, he said “I hope I get to go!”)…anyway, as I was saying, since my kids are way into the books, I thought it would be fun to let them earn house points. I have 4 kids, so I could have easily assigned them each a house, but…I didn’t really want to make it a competition, and surely whomever ended up in Slytherin would cry about it. And then a lightbulb went on – we could earn points together, as a family team effort. For our points, each house has 2 POSITIVE traits that we can try to exhibit or practice or develop or whatever it is you want to call it. They are as follows:

Gryffindor

Gryffindor – Courage and Integrity

Hufflepuff

Hufflepuff – Teamwork and Kindness

Slytherin

Slytherin – Achievement and Determination

Ravenclaw

Ravenclaw – Knowledge and Creativity

With the whole points system, there are a few things I wanted to avoid – bragging, nagging, and having to stop what I’m doing to put points in an hourglass (because, unfortunately, I’m a muggle and they don’t just magically fall in when I say so).

So this is what we do. Two or three times a week, at dinner, we talk about house points that may have been earned in the past few days. The biggest rule is that you’re not allowed to talk about yourself. You can bring up things that you saw or know of other people in the family doing, but not yourself. Only Mom and Dad get to award points. (It’s strangely satisfying to get to yell out “Five points for Gryffindor!” at dinner.) I love that this also helps my kids (and us) to recognize and praise the good of others instead of just focusing on ourselves. Because I want to keep it positive, we cannot lose points.

The “hourglasses” sit on a shelf in the kitchen next to the giant chalkboard where we can always see them.

HousePointsShelf

When one gets filled up, we will go do a family activity that would appeal to the members of that house. So maybe we’ll go on a hike when Hufflepuff fills up or visit the children’s museum when Ravenclaw does. We’ll decide when the time comes what the activities will be. And then we’ll empty that jar out and start over again.

What I used to make the hourglasses:
Salsa jars (this is why it took me so long – had to eat 4 jars of salsa first)
Printed Hogwarts House crests, cut out, and glued on w/mod podge
Gold vinyl traits cut out with my Silhouette Portrait
Beads – I love the look of the seed beads, because they look more like jewels, but they’re small and it would have cost about $40 just to fill up each jar, so I only got a few of each of those to add some sparkle, and then pony beads

We keep the unused beads in individual sandwich bags inside of one big gallon size bag in an inconspicuous place in the kitchen.

And that’s it! Easy peasy lemon squeezey and the kids love it! (As do I, but we’ve already established that.)

Merry Christmas!

Standard

Hello! I hope you all have had a very Merry Christmas! At the beginning of the month, as the kids were putting ornaments on the tree, I got the last minute idea to make a time lapse video of the process. I really enjoyed doing it and shared the video with some friends and family. And then on Christmas morning, I decided I might as well go ahead and film the proceedings and do another time lapse so we could preserve a quick glimpse into our morning. I love being able to see my kids’ excitement on Christmas morning and hope that we’re instilling a love for their Savior and a sense of gratitude for all they have in the process. We try to keep things simple and provide constant reminders of the reason we celebrate this season. May we always remember and be grateful for the gift of our Savior, whose birth we celebrate with gifts and service each year.

Who Can Take Tomorrow…Dip It In a Dream…

Standard

…separate the sorrow, and collect up all the cream?

The Candy Man can cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good.

Welcome to Halloween 2014! A little background for those who are new to these here parts: We’re crazy. That should be enough of an intro. ;) No, really, though, we are. Or at least I am. Every year, we do a family theme for our Halloween costumes. For a little more info on that (and to see a list of what we’ve done), you can go to this post.

If you’ve browsed through my Halloween posts before, you might notice that there wasn’t one last year. And, well, that’s because last’s year’s theme was “Kids, pick something from the dress up closet, because I don’t have time for it this year.” So this year, we had to make up for it and plan ahead. The theme we picked? Willy Wonka! {Side note literary bonus…if you choose costumes from a book, you can read that book together as a family as part of your preparations. Booyah! Who needs school?! Just kidding. I do. I need my kids to go to school.}

So, without further ado, I give you six cast members from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Or as the 3 year old calls it, “Chocolate and the Charlie Factory.”

WillyWonka02

I also need to share one of my favorite pictures from the night that I caught while I was adjusting my camera settings. I mean, what was everyone doing? Really, I wish I knew what every single person in this picture was doing at this moment:
WillyWonka1

And now on to the individual costumes and a quick breakdown.

MrWonka

Let’s start with Mr. Wonka, himself. {Funny side note: Mr. LPMD is a high school teacher and he decided to wear his costume to school on Halloween. He had his pockets full of candy and while he was walking in the halls, if any student said, “Willy Wonka!” he threw a handful of candy at them and kept on walking. One student’s response was “Did that really just happen? That was epic.”} We knew from the start that finding a purple jacket was going to be our biggest hurdle. We looked and looked, but didn’t find one. Eventually I ran across a tan corduroy one and snatched it up. While debating how I should dye it (since it was dry clean only), I had a friend tell me she had painted costumes before and had good results, so I decided to try it out. I used acrylic paint and brushed it on with a paintbrush. It worked…okay. It was hard on the corduroy, because it didn’t always get down in the gaps, so it looked painted, but then when the fabric was moved, you could see the tan color showing up. It was also splotchy where I had to let it dry (so I could move it around to paint it more or so I could stop and take care of my family or whatnot) and then start up again. It also dried VERY stiff. I think if I have to do something like this again, I’ll try the dye and see how it goes.

His hat was a grey thrift store find and also got the paint treatment and a ribbon added around it. The bow tie came from some fabric in my stash and the vest was an amazingly awesome thrift store find. It started out as a woman’s 10P blouse, but the fabric was just too close of a match to pass up, so we decided to make it work for this 6 foot guy. I ended up just cutting the front panels off and safety pinning them onto his white shirt. Whew! His costume was a lot of work.

VerucaSalt

Veruca Salt. {This is literally the best picture of me we got. Boo.} This dress was another fortuitous thrift store find. I added the black buttons and the black ribbon waistband and that was it. Yes, I know Veruca’s dress had long sleeves, but this was good enough for me.

CharlieBucket

This here is Charlie Bucket and his valuable Golden Ticket. Super easy “costume.” Blue turtleneck. Grey corduroy pants. Golden ticket handmade by an 8 year old. We tried to convince him to be Augustus Gloop because people wouldn’t think he was dressed up, but he was bound and determined to be Charlie. Which, really, just made less work for me.

VioletB1 VioletB2

“Violet, you’re turning violet, Violet!” The Princess was Violet Beauregarde, partially on her way to becoming a giant blueberry. With gum. We found the blouse, pants and belt all at thrift stores. I changed the buttons out to look more like the movie and we stuffed her up with pillows. Also, I had no idea she was wearing those boots until I was going through the pictures after I had uploaded them. Se la vie.

MikeTV1

Well hello there, adorable Mike Teavee! This kid was so excited for his costume. Especially the toy gun and the cowboy hat. True story, I could not find a yellow button up shirt for this costume. I ended up buying a tan one at {you guessed it} a thrift store and dying it yellow. In fact, the number of things I had to change the color of for all of our costumes was kind of ridiculous. So I bought the shirt, dyed it yellow, and sewed on the fringe. That was a new experience. I’ve never sewed on fringe before, but it went swimmingly. All of the accessories we already had or bought for cheap.

Okay. This next one is just…kind of my favorite. I mean, not my favorite kid because I’m a mom and moms don’t have favorite kids, but his costume. Pretty much the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

OompaLoompa1 OompaLoompa2

Am I right?! Maybe I’m biased, but that there is one good looking Oompa Loompa {who also self identifies as a “Loompa Doompa”}. This kid is a singing and dancing maniac – anything for an audience. So when he found out he could be a character who sings and dances AND would get to spray his hair green, he was sold.

Okay, enough mommy gushing and on to the costume. I made the pants and suspenders from some white fleece. And by “I,” I mean I made the pants and my mother made the suspenders and attached them to the pants. I was running out of time here, folks. Yet again, I could not find a brown turtleneck. How easy should that have been? Nope, not easy. I mean, I could have ordered one from Amazon for like $13, but this is a costume. I actually had a friend call from a thrift store and tell me she found a white one, so I told her to get it for me and then I dyed it brown. I really liked that it was ribbed, because it made painting the white stripes on pretty easy. I had planned to do his cuffs (and some socks) as well, but never got around to it. So you can just ignore the bare ankles and Lightning McQueen shoes for now.

And there you have it. Halloween 2014 in the bag. Do you do costume themes with family or friends for Halloween? Tell me some of the fun things you’ve done in the comments!

Wanderlust Wednesday: Mount Timpanogos

Standard

Whew! Thought I was a goner there for a while, didntcha? Well, I’m back! Seeing as how it’s still Wednesday (barely), I’m gracing you with a little Wanderlust Wednesday post I’ve been meaning to do for a while now. And by “little” I mean long and with picture overload. You have been forewarned.

Today’s post is a bit different in that I’m sharing somewhere I actually got to go! I’ve been trying to be more positive and active in enjoying the gorgeous area where I get to live, because really, I’m pretty lucky. There are a lot of people who live where I live because of the natural beauty and easy access to so many opportunities for hiking, biking, camping, fishing, hunting, and whatever else you want to do outdoors. Just a quick drive from my home is the beautiful Mount Timpanogos. And by a quick drive, I mean closer than the nearest Costco. Or Target even. I mean, I actually have to pass by this mountain to get to these places.

So one day this summer, I got the crazy idea to drag my two oldest children (who are 8 and 10) up and back down this magisterial wonder with me. I would get them out into nature! And fresh air! With no screens! For a whole day! It would be a wonderful bonding experience! Little did they know what I was getting them into when they looked at me with glitter in their eyes for all the excitement they felt that Mom was taking just the two of them on an adventure for the day. {insert evil laugh}

Now, I had hiked this mountain as a teenager, but not since. There are two trails you can take – and I think we probably took the slightly more difficult one. Oops. I mean, it was okay except for the hundred and fifty three times I thought my 8 year old was going to fall right off the side of the very narrow mountain-goat-esque trail and plunge to his death. It’s a miracle I didn’t have a heart attack, actually.

Anyway, it was glorious and beautiful and gorgeous and a fantastic hike. We only hiked so far as the lake, but many people hike to the summit. All along the way we saw wildflowers in full bloom. We had our handy-dandy Field Guide to Wildflowers book and often took the time to stop and smell (and identify) the roses.

TimpFlowers

I only had my iPod with me because I didn’t want to haul my big ol’ Nikon up the mountain, so the pictures aren’t as crisp as they could be, but it was good enough to capture a little glimpse into the memories we made that day. So I’ll spare you any more rambling and just warn you again of the impending picture overload. Enjoy!

Before. Despite the chilly morning, I can assure you that these two were, in fact, excited for the adventure ahead.

TimpBefore

Our view from the get-go.

Timp01

Along the way, there are multiple waterfalls that you pass by/over/through. This was the first of the many.

TimpWaterfall01

Timp02

We took a lot of rest stops. ;)

Timp06

Timp05

We are STRONG! {And we don’t realize just how far we have to go.}

Timp03

Timp04

Stopping to see just how far we’ve come from the trailhead.
Timp08

Also, selfie proof that I was there too. :D And another gorgeous waterfall.

TimpWaterfall02

There are parts of the trail we liked to call “The Jungle.”
Timp13

And then the heart attacks started. This was the beginning (and the easy part) of the scary part. I didn’t take many pictures for the next long while because I was busy yelling at reminding my children to stay next to the mountain instead of the cliff.

Timp07

One of my favorite places we rested. Mountain bluebells for DAYS, I tell you!

Timp09

We were getting pretty worn down, but just over this hill and then another small hill, was Emerald Lake. Ah, sweet rest! Unfortunately, or fortunately really, we were enjoying it too much to take pictures.

Timp10

Headed back down. This picture makes me so happy – those are my kids! On that mountain! They were troopers!

Timp11

And this one. My favorite from the whole day. We can do hard things.

Timp12

TimpWaterfall03

Aaaaand after:

TimpAfter

Contrary to their faces, they really did enjoy the hike. We all did, but yeah, we were pooped by the end. I tell ya what, though, I can’t wait to make this a summer tradition! I love getting to spend time like this with my kids with no distractions for any of us. But next time, I think we’ll try the trail up the other side of the mountain. Okay, one last look at that before and after:

TimpBeforeAndAfter

Do you have a favorite trail you’ve hiked? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!