Tuesday, July 31, 2012

After Church

Sweet, smocked pink dress? Check.

Lacy white socks? Got 'em.

Shiny white shoes with glittery flowers? Of course. Her favorite.

Pretty ribbon flower in her hair? Duh.

Bracelet made from an old tape roll (from dress-up clothes box)? Can't do without THAT.

Bruise on forehead from the tire swing at the park? You betcha.

Scratch on cheek from climbing onto something precarious and falling off five minutes ago? *sigh* It's always something.

(Disclaimer: I DO watch this child. I watch her like a hawk. She's just fearless. And very, very quick.)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Photosynthesis for a Five Year Old

 This week, the J-bird is learning about photosynthesis. I started by drawing a diagram for him on our sliding glass door. We talked about it last night and again this morning, working on pronouncing the big words, like "carbon dioxide" and "photosynthesis".

 Next, we went back to our sprouted avocado pit, which we put in water LAST SEPTEMBER, and which took at least six months to sprout any leaves. Persistence, people.  I kept a pit from an avocado I used a few weeks ago to use as a "before" illustration.

 We split that open to remind ourselves how we started. (It got a little grody, sitting around and waiting to be used.)

 Next, we pulled our sprout out of the water and took a gentle look at all its parts. Both kids breathed onto the leaves of the plant, and we talked more about how our bodies get rid of carbon dioxide and plants take it in.

 This thing has some serious roots. I'm sure avocado growing enthusiasts could tell you all the thousands of ways I did this incorrectly. Oh well. We talked about how the plant gets water and food through its root system, and then we (finally!) planted that sucker in a pot.

Lesson on photosynthesis accomplished, and one less thing in the kitchen window. Now let's see if we can remember to water it...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ol' Cupboard-sides

 I saw this cute project on a blog called Homespun with Love, and I just had to try it.

 First, I found some really lovely lazer cut wood frames for an excellent price on eBay. I ordered four.

 When the frames arrived, I spray painted them red. I considered yellow, since I'm magically in love with that color these days, but I went with red, because I have a large collection of red glass objects throughout my kitchen, and I want to keep that accent color.

There's this fantastic website with free vintage clipart, called The Graphics Fairy, and I spent a large amount of time scrolling through the humongous amount of awesome clipart. I highly recommend it.

I chose graphic, black and white clipart of kitchen objects - an old fashioned ice cream machine, some silverware, an old egg beater, and a canning jar. I printed them out, cut them to fit, and just taped them behind each frame.

Then I hung two on each side of my sink, on the sides of the cupboards that butt up to that space. A lovely use of those big, blank cupboard sides, I must say (and all credit to the originators of this idea at Homespun with Love - I thought this was so clever.)

I'm thrilled with the end result!

As an added bonus, when I received the eBay frames, there was an extra one in the box. I emailed the seller, to see if I needed to pay extra or send back the fifth frame (I felt wrong keeping it, if it was an accident), and the seller said it hadn't been up to standard, so they'd thrown it in for free. Sweet! I painted it as well, printed out a vintage-y laundry pic, and stuck that baby on my laundry room door.

I think it compliments the Velvet Elvis painting that James gave me when we were dating, don't you?  That man has always known me so well.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pretending to Sleep

Former occupant of the crib, visiting the current occupant and catching a fake snooze.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Swimming Lessons for the J Bird

 I've tried since the J Bird was bitty to teach him how to swim. He's a cautious, sometimes fearful kiddo though, and he has always been scared of the water. I waited and waited to put him in swimming lessons, not wanting to force him and make it a big, traumatic deal. We even tried a few private lessons last summer, when we were in Kansas. Nothing really stuck though, and I finally decided that this child has GOT to learn how to swim - whether he wants to, or not - for his own safety. So I enrolled him in swimming lessons at our local pool. This is Oregon, so the pool is inside, but they have a lovely roll-up door that they open in the summer, so the chlorine fumes aren't bad at all. He was pretty nervous at first.
(Nervousness, pictured here)

I was worried he'd do for the teacher what he's always done with me - cling on and tense up and refuse to try, because he's worried about what might happen. Bless his heart. I did my best to soothe him, and told him that he needed to face his fear and learn how fun swimming is. He was unconvinced.
(Not convinced at all. Thinks I'm full of beans.)

 But, after a few days, wouldn't you know it....

 ...wonder of wonders...

...the kid LOVES it.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Share Alike

"Oh, hi Mommy. We were just having a conversation about sharing!"

(They actually were. I was listening. The funny thing is that they were talking about sharing me. They'd been in an argument about whose Mommy I am. I told them stop fighting and talk to each other, and this is what they did. Progress!) :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How I Fixed The Pillows

When I made the pillows for my front porch, I had what I thought was a GREAT idea. I'd make a stencil and paint "knock" on each pillow - "knock knock"...get it? I thought about doing "ding" and "dong", but that just....didn't seem right. Anyway, it was an unmitigated disaster. I tried spray paint, which went everywhere, then craft paint, which didn't help the situation. Gross. I had them turned around backward, BUT I KNEW THAT UGLINESS WAS THERE, so I decided to fix them.

 Over the mess, I put a remnant of the same towel I used to make the pillow.

 Then, I added green ribbon.

 I made a stencil and painted onto green felt, then added that. These pillows are decorative, rather than really functional, so craft felt and hot glue were used. Don't tell on me. I'm WAY too lazy to take the whole pillow apart to sew it correctly.

 I repeated the process on the other pillow, and voila!

Pillows my favorite little "Knock knock" joke teller can be pleased with.

Here's an example of a J-bird knock-knock joke:

J - "Knock knock!"
Me - "Who's there?"
J- *blows raspberries and laughs hysterically*

Monday, July 16, 2012

Numbered Drawers

 The J-bird has my old chest of drawers in his room. It's a great dresser, but it's pretty beat up. I've thought about refinishing it or painting it, but I kind of like the beat up aspect, so I went a simpler direction.

 I found a font that was suitably rocket-shippy (to go with the theme of his room), drew it out on cardstock and cut out four numbers. I taped them onto the drawers and got out some paint.

 And a sponge applicator.

 I dabbed on the paint.

 Pulled off my home-made stencils. Let the paint dry most of the way.

I wanted the numbers to look as old and beat up as the dresser, so, while they were still not quite dry, I rubbed at them with a damp cloth. I love the final effect.

The nice thing about using this inexpensive craft paint is that I can easily remove it if and when we get tired of the numbered drawers.

Happily, the J-bird-who-hates-all-change was delighted with the numbers. Win!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Quick, While She's Not Looking

 I hear sometimes about other people's children and how they get along perfectly, and I think to myself, "Huh. I wonder what that's like." I don't know. My kids fight with each other. They love each other, of course, and it's not all the time, but they fuss back and forth quite a bit. It's maddening. Only lately, instead of constantly intervening when they rumble, I'm trying to stay back and let them work it out (unless someone is getting hurt). They need to forge their own relationship, and this is one way I can help - by butting out. They've actually started "talking" things out or finding compromises (some of the time), and I keep catching them being super duper sweet together when they don't know I'm watching.

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit's pretty adorable, alright.

I believe two minutes after I took these photos, Miss V headbutted the J-bird in the chest, but I'm going to choose to celebrate the happy progress and enjoy the way they look at one another when they're just hanging out, being pals. Makes me happy.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Da Front Porch

 I've been revamping my front porch, and I am loving the results. I posted a bit ago about my yellow painted chairs, which have become one of my favorite places to sit.

 I saw these painted aluminum cans and glass bottles on a blog called Fox Hollow Cottage and decided to give it a whirl. I spray painted this giant can green, then lightly sprayed it white. When it was dry, I took steel wool to it. I added a blue ribbon and a pretty brooch I never wear, and it holds the plant I received for helping with VBS this year. ;)

 I set the plant on a cool wood crate I found at a shop downtown.
 I loves it.

 I made some pillows from a blue towel to set on the chairs.

 I had this great idea to paint "knock" on each one. "Knock knock"... get it? They looked terrible though, so I turned them around. Because I'm lazy. Who knew terry cloth was so hard to paint on?

 Next, I bought three small rugs for $4 apiece at WalMart and sewed them together to go under the whole shootin' match.

 Oh, how I adore a project. I'm so happy with how this turned out! Who wants to come over and porch sit with me?!