Tag Archive | diy

Easter and Birthday

I should actually put that the other way around since the Birthday party was 3 days before Easter but either way I’m about a week past due to post about either so I’m not sweating the details.  (This is a long post so settle down or hide in the bathroom)

Today I finished the thankyou cards, usually, I do them faster but I have been in a fight with my computer and phone and pictures talking nicely to each other but I finally got it done.  I know I like my thank you collages, but, I now have proof that the kids (at least one) likes it too since when I was snapping pictures and asking each kid to pose with their birdhouse the two that have been guests before actually mentioned ‘knowing why I take so many pictures’.  Anyway, this 9th birthday was a bit of a turn in the road for us in birthday planning because instead of a BIG party with MANY people invited this was a tiny party with very few invited because it was a sleepover.  I like both styles, but, I’m glad we went small this time because I was able to do some cool things with them.

  1. IMG_6114First is something I think is pretty clever and not an absolute Pinterest thing (but inspired by) – I made envelopes that had each activity on a paper inside.  I had the stack displayed on the table and it instantly drew in the kids.  The first one was opened when everyone had arrived – it made a bunch of activities really feel like they had a ‘theme’ and it was so easy, I just wrote on plain printer paper and folded it into an envelope and numbered the envelopes.  Took me about 5 minutes and very worth it
  2. Activity #1; We made our own pizza!  This is the easiest thing ever if you even have the most basic knowledge of dough.  I made enough dough for 2 full pizza’s and that was plenty for 6 personal pizza’s and 1 pretty big one (mine!).  I suggest just buying a jar of pasta sauce pre-seasoned with basil and/or garlic, it is WAY better than the ‘pizza’ sauce they sell in the store.  I made the dough in advance and they had the fun of shaping and adding sauce, cheese, and toppings.  There were some very creative designs in the end.IMG_6077
  3. While the Pizza cooked the next envelope  pointed them downstairs to decorate some bird houses.  Paint and glitter stickers are a universal love of all and they happily created while I got the next batch of things ready. IMG_6088
  4. Everyone totally enjoyed their pizza, something about making it custom makes it taste better.  Once the pizza was done we moved on to the very important cake portion of the event and as the sun was going down they devoured the rainbow cake.IMG_6081
  5. The setting sun was actually a closely noted thing for me because it was key for my next activity – we took a little drive to a local park and I broke out 100 glow sticks for their entertainment.  You would think that 100 might be excessive but it was about perfect and it indulged all their creative building of things that glowed.
  6. Then a small road trip to bring one of our guests home, this was actually her first party altogether and a sleepover was totally pushing it with her parents.  I hope they let her come to future parties because she had so much fun!IMG_2562
  7. Home again and another envelope.  While they were reading it I actually pulled out a premade basket that was full of face masks, soda, snacks, and a movie.  The note had a minor treasure hunt to find the basket and that was icing on the cake.  They gladly tucked in to snacks and floats and I painted their faces with gack that they could peel off (peel off is more fun than wash off) while they watched Moana.  It was a bit late but they were all good and ready for bed at 10:30 when they all brushed and crashed.

With just 2 extra kids I was able to have cozy mattresses for them made of our big pillows and our tot bed mattresses (those things come in handy so often).  I also went to bed because I was beat too and as I read for a half hour I could hear some giggles but they all drifted off.

The next morning we had pancakes and hanging out until parents came and all declared it a total success.

The next two days were rather a low after the party high.  Lars had a trip so he was gone, the overtired kids got in a cycle of arguments and not listening, and at a particularly low point, I listesd them for sale on Facebook.  We managed to do the two things that were necessary for holiday prep; easter egg dyeing and Figoli decorating.  They were bright points actually, surrounded by lots of breaks and deep breathing and attempting to keep it all together.   My mom called me when I listed them for sale, knowing that I was probably at the end of the road, and I’m glad that I have a good mom.  She isn’t close enough to come over and help but she is intouch enough to know when to call and what to say.

I created easter baskets in relative peace as the kids were put to bed, exhausted, and fell asleep well.

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Our easter bunny tradition is to put puzzle pieces in each plastic egg that the easter bunny leaves with us.  It is a fun way to fill the eggs that is not full of candy or some other thing that would be unequal unless egg finding is too closely supervised.  I have well over 100 eggs so they get to find tons and then they are all combined to make the puzzle.  This year I also added a few geode eggs, both in their baskets so they would figure out what they were before they found rocks in their hunt and dump them in the yard.  I got the geodes from Oriental Trading ages ago and it was worth the wait to hear “I got a rock?!?” from Zoe as she opened eggs of candy and toys in her basket.

The day was bright and pretty and it was a very Easter rebirth type of day.  They enjoyed the hunt and smashing geodes and doing the puzzle and friends came over and it was a very nice day.  I suppose without the low the high does not feel as good…  I just closed my eyes to the mess and decided to deal with it all on Monday and enjoyed the evening with everyone.

That is our birthday easter adventure weekend.  It feels like a month ago given all that we have done since.  I have posts coming out my ears so much is going on so get ready for some long reading over the next few weeks!

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Nerd + Crafting

My dear husband, who I promise is an adult and contributing member of society, loves to play D&D with his guy friends.  It is his ‘guys night’ and a bunch of his friends go off and have very creative adventures in the comfort of the livingroom **major bonus of being an adult, they don’t have to be banished to the basement**.  I’ve played occasionally and it is fun enough, but I prefer to have the nice solo night at home where I get to eat a quiet dinner and watch whatever I like on tv.

Anyway, like all hobbies, there are tons of things marketed directly at them.  There are the books and stuff, but then there are the extras and we are the proud owners of a very nice set of spell templates.  They are nicely done truly – you put them on the playing board to show how far your fire ball or ice stream goes.  They came on a giant piece of thin plastic so my first contribution to this was my ability to cut very nicely.

 

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spell sheet from Arc Knight – check them out, they are a great small business

 

The issue becomes how to carry all these bits…  For scale, that Capt America/Iron Man box is the length of a pencil (and is full of guess what; pencils!).  Some of the spells are wide, some are long, some are very very small…. How to keep them all safe?

I happened to have a yard of super hero fabric and my machines were all set up so instead of folding laundry last night I made this;

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Not just a bag!  Imagine how big a fail it would be just put them all in a tote.  The tiny ones would be gone, the long ones would be bent, and one can’t let an opportunity to make tiny pockets pass by.

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First of all, I made the side and half the bottom open for easy access.  Husband has big bear paws and if the chaos he leaves looking for a spatula in the drawer is any indication, he needs the ability to see all the pockets.  There are snaps up the side of the bag and velcro on the bottom (wraps up and around so there is a more secure bottom).  The pocket on the left is for the long thing things, across the bottom are all the large triangles and circles, and the wee little pocket on the top are for the little bits.  There is also room for the dice and pencil box and probably a book or 3.

Do you notice more snaps?  I decided that based on the variety of sizes,  small things would get lost in each pocket and to indulge more crafting energy; all the pockets open up for easy access

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So other than an oddly unfortunate fabric placement that makes all the small spells seem to be stored in The Hulks armpit, and, it isn’t lined, I’m very happy with it and more importantly so is he.

This took less that a yard and if I was starting again I would integrate the velcro better by just making the back longer than the front so it could fold up neatly.  I thought of the velcro after when snaps were not really making it on the bottom once he asked to store more things.

Happy St Patricks day!

The day I’m confused about my culture more than normal because I’m not ‘allowed’ to do or like things NOT in my culture of birth but everyone can be Irish if they feel like it. I also don’t especially know if I’m all that Irish.  However, based on my research from my Irish cousins and FancyPaperBlog there is very little difference beyond some vocabulary from my life here and their lives there.  (except for the president… I can’t guess the current president of Ireland and I can only name one; Mary Robenson, and our presidents seem to get more international notoriety)  So I am Irish and so are you, unless you super identify with some other culture.

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American Irish, mixed with Pinterest and hallmark, creates a bit of a crazy little holiday focused on green and rainbows.  School lunch today was desirable so no cute lunches to pack but I did break out the special ‘rainbow’ cereal for snacks.  They left an entire beer * and some soda bread for our resident leprechaun, Mr McCabbage, who ate and drank it all, leaving a spill of gold wrapped chocolate for them to find.  The tricky guy also dyed the milk green and also poured some on the floor **

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Tonight we are having soda bread and soup, good for lent and all that.  When the kids asked why we didn’t celebrate more since this was ‘our’ holiday I gave them my dad’s answer that this is day to go to church in Ireland…

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Still like celebrating things that have no more sress then what you personally choose.  I celebrated by doing my part of the tax prep and taking a short nap all while looking like an Irish Ari flight attendant.

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*Lars thought someone loved him since that ‘door’ is right above his office so he drank it

**Lars also accidently spilled a dish of cereal and Niamh saw him cleaning it up and deduced that the tricky leprechaun had made a mess.

 

Edit – I googled the president of Ireland and he is also on twitter.  To support my Irish side, I’m following him now.  You also get to be president of Ireland for 7 years, thats a long time…

https://twitter.com/PresidentIRL?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

Happy Valentines day!

This year, I’m not sure if because it is a Tuesday or what, I’m not doing as much as usual.  I’m actually not even going to see Lars because tonight is the SCA kids practice and also my PTO meeting so we will be in opposite directions until about 8:30.  After that we plan on a nice take out sushi dinner but really, I don’t doubt his love in general.

I did have fun with valentines for the kids.  I took a cue from all the cute photo strips we have as favors from recent weddings and decided to DIY one.  The internet is full of other people who thought of this first but this is how I did it;

  1. Took a ton of pictures of each girl holding a dry erase board where they wrote each part of the message.  Take A LOT because half of them will be too silly or full of frownsimg_6013
  2. cropped them to be square in my computer
  3. used the collage option to line up the 4 pictures in a strip.  I choose to have white borders on a pink background.  You can also do this in excel, sometimes it is easier in excel!
  4. Sent the image to our local UPS store and then talked to them so they knew what I wanted, and, printing is one of those things personal attention is worth doing.
    1. Paid a whole $10 for 35 strips (2×8 if you are looking for dimensions) for each of the kids.  That is $10 for 105 strips total.
  5. Cut up some pretty washi tape so the kids could tape on pencils (totally optional)
  6. They wrote names and taped pencils no problem and it only took about 20min

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I love that getting them printed is so economical because I figure I would have spent $3 per ‘kit’ at walmart and I would have needed 4 at least since they are usually only 24 so I’m saving money, and, it is something I get to keep and love.  I know, there is a ton of time involved between taking pictures and edits but for me, that is the fun part.  This didn’t even need hot glue so I consider it an easy one.

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Finally, I must add a new addition to the valentines traditions.  Apparently, as they get older, the valentines box becomes homework, and Niamh had her heart set on a Giraffe valentines mailbox.  It is a STEM school and I like that they described this as a building project and include the design-refine-spend time method. I talked her out of having the mouth be the mail slot because… engineering… but I do like the final result.  It could be better but she procrastinated until yesterday afternoon to even start and I refused to do it without her (because I wanted her to do it over the weekend when we had time).

 

So I hope you all have nice days and nights and a pleasant February 14th in general.

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giraffe mail box – excuse the mess below, that is how creative tables look.

 

Working with them

In my life revolving around trying to not have the house fall down around us, I try and make time for some fun photo projects.  I know it seems a bit over the top to do personalized cards for the kids, but, really they are for me.  It is a good yearly chance to take pictures of them as they grow.

This weekend we have 2 photo goals;

  • a ‘Thank You’ card for selling cookies.  I think people enjoy getting a token from the kids they are supporting.  Girl Scout Cookies are more or less their own reward, but, the fact you are helping kids should make you feel good too.  I also like that I have a picture per year of them in their vests and it also gives me a deadline to sew on all the patches.
  • Valentines card pictures. Again, I know, the 2.99 box from WalMart would be fine and that is all they are going to get in return (worse then christmas cards) BUT I seriously love the cards from last year and have had them by my bed for the past year.

However!  My kids are not models and I’m not a real photographer.  I end up getting frustrated and my lighting semi stinks and I hear myself getting mad that they won’t smile ‘right’ for me and so I end up just trying to ‘go with it’.

And so here is what you get when you let a cranky 4 year old pick how she will hold the sign…

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part of me thinks I should use it anyway, but, I did get a more traditional one too.  I’ll be working on it today and see how it looks. The inspiration this year is like a photobooth strip, it will be 4 square pictures in a strip that say ‘happy’-valentine’s-‘day’-‘name’ so this is just 1 of 4…  She does have cute feet.

So that is my plan for this SuperBowl Sunday.  I’m going to go workout like normal, come home and feed kids, put them to bed and then make cute cards.

Christmas crafting

Today’s post is based on product given to me by Oriental Trading company in return for a post.  I almost feel bad because they are so fast and shipping and I’m comparably slow at posting.

*in my defense, they just pull from a warehouse and ship the next day, I have to wait for my heard of cats to be in a crafting mood. *  Lucky for me, they inherited my love for crafting gene so far 🙂

I got quite a few things this order but my first goal was to get things that the kids could create gifts with.  There is a TON of jewelry options but I settled on 2 kits and then some charms and cute lampwork beads, one that looked like apples and another set that were just pretty.  I also got a few basic supplies like wine charm wire loops and necklace chords.

 

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Tried to keep the title and item number visible, price etc will probably be dependent on when you go look.

 

The older two were enchanted with the box of what can only be described as treasure.  Both dove in to create teacher gifts and with zero guidance from me created wine charms with bits and parts I was not expecting them to use.  It was ABSOLUTELY within their level (of age 6 and 8) to not just manually make it happen but to put together something pretty.

The Santa kit from the picture is actually too hard for them.  I plan on doing them myself and they will find their way to some lucky family members.  (here is where I hope my sisters are too busy to read my blog)

 

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The final thing that I want to highlight is, according to Oriental Trading, another Christmas craft, but, I’m planning on wearing it year round.  The safety pin in this picture actually also comes with a tiny nativity scene but for me, this is going to indicate my willingness to help anyone who needs it so I’m going to use that charm elsewhere.  The safety pin symbol , I think, is a great idea in its simplicity.

I was very impressed with the overall quality.  Makes me wish I had time to just sit and play with beads all day.  I will settle for the time I have and I’m double grateful for the fact that I can put a pile of supplies in the hands of my kids and let them create.