Archive for the ‘son’ Category

In lieu of a garden this year, we’re container-growing bean plants that my kids started in a library class. ¬†When last we saw the plants on the blog, they were tiny but fast-growing!

I’ve been keeping a bit of a photo record of them over the past month or so…Believe me, this is nothing scientific– just a photo whenever I remember to take one ūüôā It’s fun to see how the plants have grown.

bean plants today!

June 6

the bean plants today

June 14

the bean plants today

June 16

the bean plants today

June 29


the bean plants today

…and we spied flowers on June 29, too!

The kids were SUPER delighted to harvest their first beans on July 9.  We got threeРone green, one purple, and one yellow (a wax bean??).

harvested our first beans today!

First harvest! Three beans on July 9

Every day when we come home and get out of the car, the kids now rush over to the bean pot, which is just outside the garage, to check to see if there are any new beans for harvest.

2017-07-13 12.33.11-Edit

Sometimes they are a little bit over-eager (we’ve lost a vine or two to vigorous and non-traditional harvest methods), but I love how excited they are to pick beans– and then eat them! ¬†They’ve decided they like them best when they are cooked, so I will heat some water in a tiny frying pan to blanch the beans for the kids.


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At the end of February, my husband and I took our kids to a Great Wolf Lodge located a few hours from our house. ¬†We realized that it was the first “vacation” we’d taken as just our nuclear family! ¬†The kids had a blast (so did we!) and ever since we returned, they’ve been playing an imaginary game of Great Wolf Lodge all through the house (think sliding around on the floor pretending to be on water slides–ha!)

One day at the end of March, I was working through organizing and editing¬†my photos from the month of February. ¬†As I worked, I received an email with a free photobook offer from Shutterfly–that expired that night! ¬†Thanks to some recent posts on the Lightroom Killer Tips blog, I had the idea of creating photo collages for photobooks on my mind. ¬†I told my husband, “I’m dropping everything to do this today. ¬†I think I can do it!” ¬†And I did! ¬†Woo! ¬†It was probably the very fastest turnaround on a project for me, period. ¬†I chose favorites from our trip, edited them, organized them into pages, made collages, added text, created a title page, covers, and spine and uploaded it to order– all in about 8 hours. ¬†Whoa.

I’ve done a photobook this way before, but this time, it was even faster- I think because there were a lot fewer photos! ¬†Last time, I just put the collages onto Shutterfly pages and printed, but this time, I wanted to have text along with the photos, so I kept that in mind while I constructed my photo collages. ¬†I made the collages in LR, then imported the “printed-to-file” images into PSE and added text boxes. ¬†The text is a slightly modified version of the captions I’d added to the metadata of my photos, so it went very quickly.


I wanted the title page and final page to be a bit more fancy than just a white background, so I made those pages in PSE (they are still super simple!) and used Audrey Neal’s digital paper from the Whiteout collection to add a whimsical woodgrain. ¬†I also did a quick internet search to find an image of the Great Wolf Lodge logo to use on the title page.

I used the Shutterfly templates to make my cover images and spine, then uploaded everything to print!  It was so satisfying to get it done so quickly.



It was even more satisfying to get the book so soon after our trip, so that my kids could enjoy it.



I even took the time to go through the many video clips I took while we were there and grab some screenshots of us going down the slides!

My kids were immediately drawn to the new photobook.  I loved seeing them sitting close on the couch to look at the book together!



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We had quite a few activities planned for the princess party. ¬†As the guests arrived, we had Rapunzel/Tangled coloring pages and crayons out on the table, as well as little “kits” set up to make Pascal blowers.

coloring pages and Pascal blowers to put together in the dining room

I’m really glad that I switched from regular craft foam to adhesive craft foam–it made all the difference!

Vivian made a Pascal blower

Becker made a Pascal blower with Mommy's help

We also had beanbag games set up in the entryway, where guests could throw “apple” (red) beanbags into a hole for Maximus and “satchel” (black) beanbags into a hole for Flynn.

Vivian's fifth birthday party [Ed's camera]

We did one “organized” party game before the “main event!” ¬†I had cut a whole pile of small paper apples with my Silhouette, and we hid them around the rooms in which the party was happening. ¬†The guests each collected at least five and they turned them in for a “reward from Maximus”– a little bag of red and green M&Ms (they were supposed to be apples, haha!)


do you spy my Rapunzel charm bracelet? ¬†I was Disney-bounding Rapunzel for the party, of course! ūüėČ

The main event was the whole reason we decided to put on this party! ¬†Husband found out about “party princesses” (entertainers who come to a birthday party dressed as a favorite princess character) and decided that they would be absolutely perfect for V. ¬†And of course, they were! ¬†We had requested that Rapunzel come to V’s party, and we were delightedly surprised when Aurora came with her! ¬†The princesses sang, told stories, worked on a little craft, and played some games with the guests. ¬†It was so sweet to see the little girls interacting with the princesses! ¬†At the end, Rapunzel did a little coronation ceremony for V and then V gave out “coronation gifts” to each of the guests (toy rings for the girls, and sticky hands for the boys).


Aurora, Vivian, and Rapunzel

As we did the different activities, the guests put their little treats and treasures into paper bags that I’d labeled with their names on tags that were styled after the party invitation.¬†Also inside each of those bags was a little watercolor set shaped like a palette, and I added a little tag that says “Add a few new paintings to your gallery”

one of the favors for the kids

The party was so much fun to plan and even more fun to see in action… but it was so much work (totally worth it)! ¬†The next party we do will probably be for B’s fifth birthday party– a few years from now, haha!

This is the last post in my series about our daughter’s princess party; click here for all the posts!¬†

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Vehicle quilt

My little boy has been needing a larger blanket for his bed for a while now. ¬†One night in the fall, I realized that it really wouldn’t be hard to make him a quilt like the ones I made last spring (here and here). ¬†I went on a hunt to find fabrics he would love. ¬†Since (of course), I started the quilt two weeks before Christmas (remember, I mentioned that I was pretty busy, and I still had a princess dress to make, too!), I was limited to the local selection, and I was surprised how hard it was to find non-character vehicle prints that were not too babyish. ¬†But I did find one! ¬†It’s a navy cotton with white line drawings of different kinds of vehicles: airplanes, cars, trains, helicopters, busses. ¬†(No trucks! What?! ¬†But it’s okay, because thankfully my boy likes all kinds of vehicles.) ¬†I teamed it up with a multicolored, striped cotton and a solid red cotton to piece the top.


The back is one large piece of navy cotton printed with white stars.


Like the previous quilts I’ve made with this design, I used flannel as batting and machine quilted it along the piecing seams. ¬†And of course, I made a scrappy binding.



And a dedication tag.



The quilt is just the right size for his toddler bed (a converted crib).  Later on when he has a larger bed, he could use it as a reading or TV-watching cuddle blanket.

Becker's quilt (sewn for him for Christmas 2016) on his bed

Becker's quilt (sewn for him for Christmas 2016) on his bed

Becker's quilt (sewn for him for Christmas 2016) on his bed

These aren’t super-high-quality fabrics, but that is okay for now. ¬†They are good enough for some hard use (we’ve already washed this quilt several times!) ¬†I’ll make my son a better “big-boy-bed” quilt when he’s a bit older. ¬†This one is for him to enjoy right now ūüôā ¬†And he is! ¬†I loved his reaction on Christmas morning– he immediately wanted to lay down and snuggle on it. ¬†The perfect endorsement from my vehicle-loving little boy.


Becker's new quilt

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Costumes 2016: Pascal

Our almost-two-and-a-half-year-old son played the part of Pascal in our family costume this year!





We started with the basic jumpsuit in Simplicity 1765 in the smallest size published, but it was still over 10″ too long for our boy, since the pattern is really a “child” sized pattern, not a “toddler” sized pattern. ¬†We shortened the pattern and also took out quite a bit of bulk on the side seams. ¬†Since we were making a chameleon outfit and not a dinosaur, we lengthened the tail and changed its shape a bit. ¬†When the suit was assembled, Husband added some strong twisted wire into the stuffing of the tail, and we used that to curl it up.



I changed the feet on the pattern to be more like Pascal’s three toes, and instead of making mittens, which B would have hated for restricting his ability for holding onto things, I modified the feet to make something that is effectively a wristband with three big puffy toes that come out over the hands. ¬†The wristbands are held together with Velcro.



We hand-stitched the head and eye ridges onto the hood and added fabric eyeballs.  To make the eyes, I cut two large circles out of white cotton (old sheet, of course!) and ran a long stitch around the perimeter.  I added some polyfill inside and cinched the stitches.  On the first one, I used a marking pen to determine the placement of the iris and pupil, removed the stuffing and flattened it again. Based on this marking, I used freezer paper templates to paint the iris/pupil onto the flat fabric circles, then cinched them up again with stuffing inside.  At the very end, I added a little catchlight (the white dot) in each eye, and it absolutely amazed me how much of a difference it madeРthe eyes suddenly looked friendly, rather than staring.


The hood (as well as the hand-toe wristbands) is lined with some fabric from an old dress shirt of Husband’s. ¬†When I realize that there was a likelihood of the lining being visible, I knew I needed to use green fabric– and the only reasonable green I had in my stash was this shirt. ¬†Before I cut¬†anything, though, I made sure that I could also transform the shirt into an apron! ¬†The hood lining was cut from the upper sleeves– it is amazing how much fabric goes into a sleeve!


Stay tuned for Flynn Rider!




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Costumes 2016

Happy costume day!!  Our family loves coming up with elaborate group costumes each year, and this year was no exception! Say hello to the cast of Tangled!


Our almost-five-year-old daughter is really into Rapunzel right now, and our almost-two-and-a-half-year-old son really loves the movie, as well. ¬†So it seemed only natural to choose to “play” characters from the movie for our costumes! ¬†It’s pretty obvious that V is Rapunzel!¬†B is dressed as Pascal, Rapunzel’s best friend and pet chameleon. ¬†Husband is Flynn Rider, and I am dressed as Maxiumus, the royal guard horse. ¬†(I didn’t want to play a kidnapping, conniving, selfish and lying old woman, even if her dress was prettier!)


Starting at the end of this week, and going through next week, I’ll have posts featuring each of our individual costumes, with all the details about how we made them. ¬†Stay tuned!

Flynn Rider

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Lap desk for B

We had an eight-hour drive to and from our vacation spot this summer, so I decided that it was time that B had a lap desk of his very own!

Thankfully, I’d had the foresight when making V’s lap desk to take detailed notes and photos of my process. ¬†[When I looked back at that set of instructions, I was seriously impressed with myself–I have no idea how my mind was clear enough to come up with the plan, let alone execute it and even take notes! ¬†My baby was 6 weeks old, for heaven’s sake! ¬†I think my creative brain was functioning better then than it is now ūüėČ …I was just desperate for some crafty time, and my deadline was extremely motivating.]

Anyway, I was very glad for the notes+photos combo. ¬†I made almost no changes to my original “pattern,” though I did add a little pencil/pen slot to one of the pockets because the fabric scraps I was using weren’t long enough!

On one side, there are two smaller pockets:



And on the other, there is one larger pocket (and the pencil slip):


The desk is topped with a magnetic whiteboard that ties on with ribbon, and there is a green carrying handle.


Underneath, there is a envelope pillowcase that holds a thin pillow for padding:


The row of buttons holds a piece of corrugated cardboard that gives the desk some structure beyond the magnetic whiteboard’s edges.



The cardboard, pillow, and whiteboard can all be removed, if the desk needs to get washed.



I think B enjoyed having a lap desk for our trip.  The kids really enjoyed coloring with Color Wonder pads and crayons to pass the time.

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