Fun Little Project

I am itching for spring, as you may have noticed from yesterday’s post.  Mostly because that is the time I declutter, re-organize, and sometimes actually get to be creative!  Right now is the start of friend birthday season for me, and I am so excited to do this little craft for some of my friends.  I found some glass water bottles on sale at Target, and they have an Orla Kiely design.  Orla + glass = love.  I wanted to personalize them, so I got some metal tags from Hobby Lobby, and used my metal punch set.  It was a simple project, but lots of fun.  (I purposely left my letter punch set out for the kids to find and play with afterward!)  I wanted to use little nails to put the metal onto the lid, but decided to use my favorite E6000 glue instead.

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When I was done, I just wiped away the excess glue and it was set.  Now I have to decide if I want to give my last few away or save one for myself, too…


Somehow, after Christmas I always seem to re-evaluate everything.  It is not even a conscious writing of goals or resolutions, though I sometimes wish I were so disciplined.  Mostly, I like to de-clutter, (which I am guessing is a common post-Christmas activity for moms), and in so doing reorganize, which makes me re-evaluate everything!

All that to say, we are back in the full swing of homeschooling, yet I am re-thinking it all and planning next year in my head while this year is barely half over!  Why do I always do this to myself?

One thing I am thinking about is simply more freedom for the kids.  It is ironic, because if you were to ask me my biggest struggle with homeschooling, I would probably tell you I am not structured enough.  And yet, I am still leaning toward more freedom.  I want the kids to continue to love learning.

January seems to be an excellent time to experiment with all of this.  We have many beautiful days outside, where the kids have been on scooters, making bug houses, and enjoying the chilly sunshine.  I could listen to them for hours as they make up games based on their books or imaginations.

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Then we have the cozier days where we are inside sipping tea, (and espresso for me using my new Christmas present), playing with animals, painting, or reading.

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I laugh every year when I get new ideas and think, “This is it!”  Really, every year is so different and every year we find new and fun ways to homeschool, (as well as new ways to fail!)  There is no magic “it.”  If you would have told me that when I began homeschooling, I probably would have freaked out and been determined to find the right way.  It is only over time, and trusting God, that I have become comfortable with the constant change and realizing no other mom has it all together and could do it better.  God has trusted me with these kids, and it is up to me to trust Him every day for what I need to teach them.  He is faithful!

One Week

My mom has been with us for a week now.  I am using less hand lotion because the dishes are magically done for me.  Exercise and errands mean alone time.  Can I just say it is glorious?  Meanwhile, and most importantly, the kids are loving the family time with Grandma… whether it is a coloring date, building fairy houses, reading stories, making s’mores, playing in the rain, or doing string art.. everything is more fun with Grandma!

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Baking soda & vinegar fun

One of my favorite parts about blogging is watching the kids enjoy scrolling back and excitedly exclaiming things like, “Oh, remember how fun that was?  Remember when…” Often, they are also captivated by a craft or something they were doing and want to do it again.  (Immediately; of course!)  When it’s something as simple as baking soda and water, I respond, “Sure.”  (That’s usually a fun surprise for them, too!)

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It doesn’t take long for a sibling to come by and want to join in.  After all, the real deal is always better than the blog.  (Now I better make sure my cabinet is stocked with baking soda and vinegar before I press “publish.”)

Argh, Mateys… Malachi Turned 4!

It’s hard to believe our youngest is not so young, anymore.  He woke-up super excited for his birthday.  I love 4 because it seems like the first time they really anticipate and get excited about their birthdays!  His “under-the-bed present” was a new scooter from his aunt and uncle.  It couldn’t have been more perfect, as he told me right before bed he was becoming a big bo and needed a scooter with just 2 wheels like the other kids at the fire station.  Thanks Nate and Hil!

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We had a birthday breakfast of bacon and french toast, then got to work getting ready for his pirate party!

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I love when I can re-use things.  That birthday sign is from Sierra’s panda party, 5 years earlier!

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The food is always my favorite.  So many fun ideas on Pinterest!  I made all my signs for free on

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Activity #1:  “Coloring Pirates”  (While they did this, Allison made balloon swords she learned for her mission trip to Thailand, and Natalie armed the guests with pirate tattoos.)

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Activity #2:  “Hook the Ring”  This one was a fun creative challenge since the Dollar store didn’t have any pirate hooks.  They did have poster boards for 50 cents, as well as a pack of black cups and a pack of plastic candy canes.  I made the rings using aluminum foil.  This game was a huge hit!

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Activity #3:  “Walk the Plank” (while balancing a pirate hook on your head)  This was another hit with the kiddos!  I used black washi tape for the letters, and an old body board my husband had brought home from work that they were getting rid of.

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Activity #4:  “Pin the Patch on the Pirate”  Another free find from Pinterest!

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Activity #5:  “Knock Down the Pirate”  I found the pirate on Oriental Trading, and the kids had to knock him down with bean bags.  He was a surprise for Malachi the morning of his birthday, and we had a conversation something like this:

Me:  “Hey, buddy… did you see your pirate?”

Malachi:  “Is that a present for me?”

Me:  “Yeah, do you like him?”

Malachi:  “Was he expensive?”

Me:  “Not too bad.  Do you like him?”

Malachi:  “How much was he?”

Me:  “I think $16.  Do you like him?”

Malachi:  “Oh!  That’s a lot of money!”

Silly boy… I don’t know where that conversation came from, but it sure made me laugh!  And in case you were wondering, yes… he likes him!

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Our playground that truly used to be a “pirate playground.”  I’m glad the forecast of rain was totally wrong because the kids sure enjoyed their time outside.

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Opening presents in the birthday chair!

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Sweet baby Jackson.  Malachi specifically told me he wanted baby Jack at his party!

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Happy 4th birthday, sweet boy.

Weekend Crafting

It’s been a while, (at least it feels that way to me), since we had a relaxed weekend as a family.  In fact, it’s been a full month since we’ve all been home, and it has been so nice!  (Maybe it’s that my husband did all the dishes… thanks, Honey!) Saturday afternoon, (since I didn’t have to do dishes!), I decided to have the kids do a little crafting.  We spray painted our old bird houses black, then went to town making them “haunted houses.”

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See why we do crafts outside?  (Thankful for the cooler weather!)

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Isn’t it always the simplest of things that bring the most joy?  A weekend together.  A weekend without dishes.  A craft with the kids.

Hope you had a nice weekend, as well!

Fall Craft Night

Last weekend, a few moms from our homeschool group came over to make some fall coffee cozies.  Just looking at felt, wood shapes, feathers, pom-poms, fall ribbons, and hot glue guns gets me super excited.  But, let’s be honest… coffee cozies aren’t super practical.  (They were really fun to make, though!)  Craft nights are never really about the crafts, but the fellowship.  I feel blessed to have gotten to know these ladies better, and thoroughly enjoyed the night!  (Oh… and they’re also about dessert.   You can’t have a fall get-together without pumpkin chocolate chip cake!)

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I ended up making four cozies, and then left the supplies out for my girls to have fun with the next day.  Yesterday, they spent hours making everything from headbands to pouches with their friend, while Malachi filled a plate with hot glue.  🙂