Saturday, February 26, 2011

Spring Flower Wreath

I've been feeling crafty lately and thought I'd try making this paper towel flower wreath. I got the idea here, and she got it here. It was a little involved, and I'm not sure yet if I need more flowers or less on my finished product, but here's how it went.

First, I watered down some paints and colored some paper towels and some card stock.

I liked how the colors spread and combined.

I put the (dried) paper towels between the paper I'd colored and some other art paper, paper clipped it together, traced some different sized circles and started cutting them out.

Since the paper towels are two ply, I pulled them apart. Then I started layering the circles and attaching them. I tried staples and glue and ended up using little brads. Hot glue would've worked, had I had any, but then again, I always burn myself on hot glue, so maybe the brads were a safer idea.

It took awhile to get my groove. I wasn't happy with this one.

But I like this one.

After layering, I crumpled and then opened them back up and fluffed the "petals" out a little.

Easy! I glued beads or buttons in the centers of several of them.

I couldn't find a styrofoam wreath form at the store I went to and didn't feel like visiting more stores, so I got this craft foam and cut out my own.

It's not perfect, but I covered it anyway, so it didn't need to be.

I didn't have any burlap (like the original), so I used some tulle I had left over from a botched nursery curtain project. I attached the flowers with dress pins, and...

Voila! Here's how mine came out. It's not perfect, and it's not exactly like the original. I like it though. I think it's fun and Spring-y, and dang it, I'm hanging it on the door after the St. Patrick's Day decoration comes down!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


It's a rarer thing in Oregon than in my home state of Kansas, but we did get a few inches of fluffy, white snow last night.

The birds are confused. They try to hide it beneath a layer of nobility, but trust me, they buggin'.

My little ones couldn't wait to play though! The J-bird ate his breakfast faster than I have ever seen him eat anything in his lifetime, so he could get outside before it melted.

"So....this is what now?"

"Oooooooh! Snow! I like it!"

He is a happy kid this morning.

And, for a little while, instead of looking like the yard that I started work on in the Fall (combining four gardens into two, so there's more yard and less work), but had to abandon due to rain and baby, leaving it half done until Spring and drivingmeinsaneeverytimeIlookoutthewindow, everything behind my house is covered in lovely, white grace. Too bad it will soon melt into an even uglier, muddy mess.

But until then, we're enjoying the view from our toasty warm kitchen!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Almost Four

I'm not sure my heart can take it.

10 Months

I had a little sign all made and an outfit chosen for her 10 month shot, but then she caught another cold, and I didn't have the heart to make my little Miss V get all dolled up and sit for a photo. She did turn 10 months though (almost two weeks ago), and I have to mark the occasion - even late!, so here's my little sweet pea a week or so ago, smiling through her cold, snuggled in her cute PJs, rather than a carefully coordinated outfit and special sign. And she is precious and perfect to me, no matter what she's wearing!

Following Big Brother, Wherever He May Go

"Hey, Mama! You'll never guess who's behind the door!"

"Now, I know this thing opens somehow..."

"Ha! I found him!"

(For the record, the original photo didn't show anything private, just his legs, but, you know...for the kid's modesty...)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

She Scoots, She Scores

And, since she mostly goes backward, she almost always gets stuck.

Just following in big brother's, I guess. Here's the J-bird, pulling the exact same maneuver, just across the room, in '07! (Apparently, the "one arm of the PJs rolled up" thing is a Houx baby trend...)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Home Pre-School Update

The J-bird's home pre-school is still going really well. He loves it, and so do I, which makes me really glad we decided to try it. James is also really involved and does a lot of little teaching moments when he's home. Like this:

This really made me smile. James was checking something on my car, and the J-bird was following him around, asking questions. Rather than shooing him back into the house, James very patiently showed him around the engine, trying to explain what everything does in a way our almost-four-year-old could grasp. It was too sweet, and it made me love them both even more.


Here's a little of what else we've been doing (other than learning about how an engine works!):

Crafts - specifically working on using scissors safely and in a controlled manner.

(Obviously, I did two of these)

What sounds the letters make when they "hold hands"

Counting by ones and by tens

Lots of fine motor activities, most of which also involve numbers or letters or matching or sequencing

Tons of puzzles - he can't get enough of them. Framed and unframed, 25 pieces or 100 - he loves them all, and he is scary good at them. Once he's put one together a few times, he'll see how fast he can put it together again without the picture to look at.

And writing. I went in to get him from his quiet time the other afternoon and found this - I guess the work we've been doing together is sinking in! I know he forgot a letter in there and that a couple are backward, but he did it unprompted and with nothing to look at for reference. I. Am. Proud. Mama.

The key for us, and the reason we keep doing this, is that we all really, really enjoy it. He's not even four, so he has a shorter attention span, which means I do short lessons throughout the day with lots of playtime (structured and unstructured) in between, and I stop when he starts to hit his limit, rather than dragging it out. I usually come back to the things he gets bored with later in the day, so I can be sure he's getting them. I give him lots of encouragement and not a lot of criticism at this point, because it's important to me that learning is a fun thing, rather than a high-pressure, performance oriented thing. There's plenty of time for all that later. The approach seems to be working. He memorizes easily, loves math and reading and asks every day what "home school" we're going to do.

We still do "play dates" with groups of children, and he goes to Sunday School each week, where he gets a classroom atmosphere. I'm going to enroll him in a tumbling class and (hopefully) swimming lessons this summer as well. When the weather is nice, we go for walks (he usually rides his trike), and those often lead to finding cool nature things to learn about - you know...worms 'n' stuff....

So. No sweeping statements about the future, but for right now, we are LOVING having school at home. It's challenging and awesome to be such an integral part of my kiddo's education, and I feel so lucky to have the opportunity and the support necessary to undertake this great project!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pretty Night

But I still can't figure out how to successfully photograph the moon... I think the clouds look nice though!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

To the three great loves of my life:

My devastatingly handsome-yet-totally goofy husband. My soul's mate. My other half. My best friend.

My precious, hilarious, ornery little boy, who made me a mommy and makes me happy every day.

My darling angel girl, who defines the phrase "bundle of joy" for me. Who cracked my heart wide open once again. Who lights up my life (day and night, at the moment...).

I love all three of you with my whole self. Thank you for being mine and for letting me be yours.