Five fun things to Welcome Spring

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5 Fun Things to do to Welcome SpringWe have had a beautiful winter in the Central Valley of California.  There have been more days than not where it “felt” like Spring was already upon us, and I wanted to take full advantage of it when the time changed in early March.

Our families top five things to do to welcome Spring became more than five things, but there are so many lists of ten and twenty things to do, that I kept it simple.  If there was only five things, what would those be?

Here’s our list, and I hope you get to make your own list and check it off like we did.

Fly a KiteFly a Kite

Just one windy evening after work we stepped outside and flew our kites.  The one in the photo is a dollar store kite so this doesn’t have to be an expensive thing.  We did realize though that we were going to have some sibling rivalry because we only own two kites.  A trip to the dollar store took care of that for the next time we have a windy day.

Have a picnicHave a Picnic

Another after work thing for us, we made peanut butter sandwiches, had chips, chocolate milk and apple slices outside for dinner.  It’s amazing how fun these seemingly small differences of just to eat outside on a blanket can bring such joy to my husband’s and my hearts….

Plant Flowers from Seeds

Plant Flowers from Seeds

This visual lesson in growth can be used in so many ways.  We have so many things to be grateful for and planting a flower from a seed is so rewarding.  We used old plastic 2-liter bottles to plant the seedlings, and we want to replant them when they get big enough.  The 8-year old read the back of the seed packet and is learning how things grow, when to plant, how and when to water, etc.  The younger two (3 & 4 yrs) just enjoy watering the soil and watching it grow.  The sunflower seeds were $1 plus tax.  We had the soil from our garden project, and we placed a layer of rock about 2-inches thick on the bottom of the plastic “pot.”

img_1893 img_1894Plant a Garden Together 100_0205

We chose to plant two things our children happily eat – tomatoes and strawberries.

We planned a Saturday to spend to do this all day and the kids were involved from the purchase of the wood, to the compacting of the dirt.  The total cost for everything was probably close to $100, but if we planted the seedlings in the ground rather than in a raised bed, it would have been much cheaper.  We chose the raised bed garden so that our dog wouldn’t chew on the plants, and that the kids wouldn’t be tempted to step on them.  We’re excited to get our first batch.

Our oldest was able to help immensely, and our 4-year old some, but our youngest got bored.

In order to involve the youngest, we made strawberry “rocks.” Painting rocks as Strawberries Everyone loves to paint!  Painting rocks is no exception.  It took us several days to paint the rocks the different colors and both sides.  The “seeds” on the rocks were done by using a regular black permanent sharpie marker.  We placed the dried rocks around the strawberry plants to deter birds and mark where the strawberry plants were planted.100_0231

Our fifth and final fun Spring thing was Cleaning!

Have fun Spring Cleaning!

Spring Clean We chose to clean up my old jewelry box shown below to the system shown above.p1020270The most fun thing about this was going through the jewelry itself.  The kids hang out with me everywhere, even when I try to clean.  (Note I said try!  I’m still laughing on the inside.)

My daughter took some of the old necklaces, I was able to go through the earrings and toss the ones that didn’t have a pair, and everyone had a great time with me telling stories of some of the pieces of jewelry I inherited from family and that were important to me.  We talked about wedding rings and thier meaning, and had an overall good time just being together.  Free, meaningful fun.

There is so much more you could do.  We keep telling ourselves we’re going to take an evening walk together to a fast food restaurant for dinner, but that hasn’t gotten done yet.

We try to go outside every evening and play on our little swing set while they are still little, and my husband and I cherish the giggles and laughs while they are young. Play outside

Enjoy it all friends!  I know I am!


Making our 1st Stop Motion Movie

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Builder-TitleThere’s a thing about kids that when you don’t have them, you don’t understand that people do.

You will do almost anything for them.

ANYTHING.

Don’t get me wrong – as parents of hopefully productive members of society, there are limits to what you will do, but when your child asks you to make a stop motion film, you have the technology, and are savvy enough to try to figure it out even if you forget to save and end up doing the same thing three (3) times –

you try and do it with them.

The coolest part of this film is that my oldest took every-single-photo.  There are fifty-one photos.

Really.

It’s only 24-seconds long and has sound-effects we found together on this site.

I don’t recommend using the camera we purchased for him as a present two years ago, as we have not had great luck with the close-up shot focusing, as shown in the movie.  (But that will be changing soon.)  Side note: that camera is very cool.  It takes underwater photos and film.  Just not good on the close-up shots.

We also used a program called Roxio.  I’ve used it before so I was comfortable “enough” to help him.

I am one proud mommy.  Check his little movie out and feel free to leave him sweet comments. 😉


St. Patrick – The Patron St. of Engineers

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An Old Irish BlessingAh, St. Patrick’s Day.

A great reason to wear green, drink green beer, and try not to get pinched – anywhere, by anybody.

I love St. Patrick’s Day.  I don’t know why, or should I say, I didn’t know why.  Until today.

I found out today that St. Patrick is the Patron Saint of Engineers.  Now, not being Catholic, the “Patron Saint” part really doesn’t mean anything to me.  But being an Engineer, the fact that St. Patrick is the Patron Saint of Engineers means that I have permission to like St. Patrick.

I spent a little time (an hour or so) researching him and his life, and I wanted to share a few stories.

Here’s a quick video from the History channel that was packed with information.

An Engineering Website had a funny blog about it, where the line “But then, after that (according to catholic.org), he lived in poverty, and endured much suffering until his death.  Now if that isn’t living like an engineer, I don’t know what is.”

That’s just funny to me because of my college living.

Thankfully, I don’t “suffer” for my job as an Engineer.  My family might, but you’d have to ask them.

I’d like to think that I had some sort of inherent Engineering quality that just really appreciated St. Patrick’s Day for what it was – a day to just have a party.

Now I know that the guy we are celebrating was really cool and is called the “Saint of the Engineer.”  There’s very little info on why he was chosen, but a site or two mentioned that he helped the Romans with their amazing buildings, and he is credited with developing arts and crafts (hmmm, not so sure about that one.)  I got that off of Wiki Answers, so take it for what it is… just a person like you or me writing that about him.

I have a smile on my face now though.  It’ll be good all throughout the day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you – May you be blessed and your family be safe from pinching people!


Creating a Hoe-down Background

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Creating a Background for a Hoe-down....

Creating a Background for a Hoe-down….

Oh the things you do for your kids.

Seriously though, I am very proud of this background.  It took me a total of about six hours over the course of three days.

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We started out with a canvas dropcloth similar to: Paint Essentials 9-Feet x 12-Feet Canvas Drop Cloth HW912. I bought it at the Home Depot and I believe it was around $21.

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p1070797I had purchased orange and purple spray paint, and had black paint to start off with.

The one can of orange and purple was just enough, but I ended up sending my hubby to the store to get more flat black spray paint.  He found some at our local Orchard Supply Hardware for $1!  It was great because I used a total of five (5) cans to spray paint the entire bottom half.  In this project, it didn’t matter that one can was a “Satin” finish one was gloss and the remaining cans were flat black.  Those facts don’t matter spray painting a canvas like this.

p1070800Above shows the photo I used to make the background.

The photo is from Oriental Trading Company (I do love them) as they sell the background on plastic.  I had to do the copy/paste/blow-up on screen thing to get it to a size I could mimic on my grand scale.

You can see the one-inch (1″) painters tape in several of the photos to create the edge of the mountain range.

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p1070802Do I look sick?  I was.  Sometimes the best thing is rest.  Mommy can’t always do that.  Thankfully my hubby took the Little Ones and I was able to just concentrate on the painting.

p1070803After day one.

What’s not pictured is the acrylic painting.  I took two containers of orange, one container of white and one container of yellow to add the details shown.  The white was mixed several times with the pumpkin orange and regular orange colors and yellow to make various colors of the gradients.  Just straight white was used right up against the black of the mountains, and I just used less and less white in the mix of the yellow and orange as I went up to the orange spray paint layer.

Any acrylic paint will do, and I use the local craft store (hopefully with coupons) to get my paint.  What I had to buy more of was the 2″sponge brushes!  I ran through at least three of those, but thankfully those are pretty inexpensive.

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img_1822These cute little ones got to dress up western, eat chili dogs, and enjoy grandma’s company.

Look at the cute centerpiece!  It was made out of tissue paper, brown painted toilet paper rolls (as the logs) and a tealight was placed in the center for the “fire” look.  The blue rocks represent the Cub Scout color and it was set on a gold wrapping paper wrapped piece of cardboard.

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I got to square dance with my big boy, while grandma took photos and hung out with the Little Ones.img_1844

One thing I love about cub scouts is the idea that you do things that you wouldn’t normally do with your family.

Which includes square dancing.

My husband wasn’t able to attend due to a minor surgery that he was recovering from so I got to dance with my boy.  He’s really good at it and I hope we can encourage him to keep dancing-it-up.  Thank you grandma who took the photos and helped so much during that crazy time!