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Keeping Their Brains from Turning to Mush

A Place To Sleep

Hubby came home to the crude life-sized model of the desired triple bunk bed for Chelsea, Rebecca, and their Guest. Of COURSE Hubby and Princess had to get right to work! After inspecting the bed and making a list, we were off to Home Depot! Hubby and Princess made some expert measurements on the 4×4 piece of wood we purchased, and headed outside for a lesson with the table saw (as Princess says, it’s a little bigger than the sewing machine).


Then, it was time to actually cut . . .


**I love how my Princess is always put together and looks wonderful no matter what she’s doing ūüėČ

After all the cuts were made, it was time to glue and screw the bed rails onto the beds before painting. Princess learned about wood to wood gluing and clamps – very interesting stuff ūüėČ


She couldn’t wait for the painting part, so she already changed into painting clothes before the clamping of the bed rails. When the glue dried, it was time to PAINT – woo hoo! She picked out some wonderful colors. Notice how I’m the lucky person who gets to hold the board while she spray paints. Yes, that’s a blue stripe on my hand – in hindsight, gloves might have been a good idea!



The head board, foot board, and 3 bunks painted and drying. I’m not quite sure the bed will be colorful enough for the girls ūüėČ



After a night of drying, Hubby and Princess headed down to the laundry room (yes it was laundry day!) to assemble the bunks. This time, a lesson in measuring, leveling, and drilling.


And, TA DA! The finished product!


The girls apparently have pets that like to sleep with them ūüėČ Princess used some of my scrapbooking stickers to add the girls’ names to their bunks. She also added some glow in the dark bugs and butterflies as well as some hooks so the girls could hang up their robes (that they don’t own – is this a hint that we need to go to the store???).


The whole project was a lot of fun for all of us, and Princess got to learn about sewing and using the table saw all in one week :-) I’ll have to check the Girl Scout book – she’s got to be able to check off some requirements for badges with that!

Sleeping Bag Saturday

Quick background . . . Princess has a couple American Girl Dolls that she’s received as gifts. Clothes and crap for them is ridiculously expensive at the AGD store! Which is why we have gotten clothes at Target for a reasonable price, and why we were elated when we saw a booth at the Farmer’s Market yesterday selling homemade clothes for AG dolls for $8 each!

Princess wanted a sleeping pad and matching sleeping bag and pillow for each of her dolls. I told her I would NOT take her to the AGD store and buy this . . .



It costs $30! Cute? Yes! But not $30 cute. So yesterday, Priness and I spent the day making sleeping pads and matching sleeping bags/pillows for her dools. We did have to make a quick trip to JoAnn fabric for some fiberfill for the pillows and 1/2 inch foam for the sleeping pads. Cost? $12 – with enough foam for 3 pads and about 47 pillows :-)

Then we went through my left-over fabric stash. We started with this old white sheet and fiberfill . . .



We cut the sheet the size of a doll pillow (~6×8), sewed it together with the machine (Princess almost remembered all the steps to fill a bobbin and thread the machine by herself!), and then Princess filled it.



Ta da! Once complete doll pillow that cost maybe 5 cents :-)



We made 5 of these before we decided to move on to the pillow cases. Once again, we used old sheets, this time some of Princess’.



A few cuts and a few stitches later, voila!



We made a couple pillow cases before we decided to move on to sleeping pads and sleeping bags. We’d found a remnant of foam at the store, so it was way cheap, and perfect to cut into 3 sleeping pads that were ~10×22. Then we used a different patterened sheet that used to be Princess’. We cut it to make a bag that would be tight around the pad (~22×25 folded in half the long way), stuffed the pad in, then sewed the top shut and trimmed the extra fabric. Dunno know why, but no photos of that!

Next, we moved on to sleeping bags! And really, what is a doll sleeping bag other than a pillow case? So, we used the pillow case that matched the sheets we used for the pads.



We measured the pad again, then guesstimated now much extra we’d need to fit the sleeping pad and an American Girl doll inside it. Modifying the pillow case to the right size was easy! The first version turned out to have a bit of extra room width-wise, but it was a success! Here’s Rebekkah enjoying a nap on her new sleeping pad, pillow, and sleeping bag :-)



We knew this would just be a prototype, because really, sheets are not an appropriate sleeping bag Рnot nearly warm enough or soft enough for a plastic doll to sleep in :-) So we dug around and found some more fabric in the bin. It was a piece of leftover blue fleece from when we made Daisy Scout uniforms! the great part? It was cut to almost the exact right size already Рit was just a little too long. So we changed the thread, Princess sewed, and we ended up with this :-) Chelsea enjoying her blue fleece sleeping bag.



Turns out, it was the perfect width, so we used that as our new template size (~26×26 folded in half – the extra on top allows for foldover at the top). We’d done our testing and figured out our dimensions for very little moolah. Yes, I could’ve said we are done, you have sleeping pads and sleeping bags with pillows, but we were having so much fun, we ran to JoAnn again to let Princess pick out some fabric. She found some really fun fleece in the discount bin, so she chose more than we had planned, but it was fun! We bought 3/4 yard of each pattern, which was not quite enough to make 2 bags and pillow cases out of each fabric. 2/3 would’ve been perfect for 1, and a full yard could’ve produced 2. Anyhoo, here are the cute fabrics she picked out.







$50 for 3 covered sleeping pads, 5 pillows, 7 matching pillow cases and sleeping bags, a bunch of extra fleece*, and an entire day spent with my Princess . . . totally worth it :-)



*We just decided that since we don’t have enough of each individual fleece for another set, we’re going to combing fleece patterns and sew them together to make one side of the bag one pattern and the other a different one – reversible! Time to get out the sewing machine!

Sewing – Not Just For Girls

After spending a couple days with Princess teaching her some sewing skills, it was Dude’s turn. In August, he was voted the Troop Historian for his Boy Scout Troop. His “job” entails keeping the troop scrapbook up to date, creating photo slideshows for Courts of Honor and other events, and maintaining the Troop Blanket. Last night it was finally time to update the blanket and add the patches the troop had gotten from campouts and events they’d attended in the past couple of months.

What did Dude learn about sewing?

1. Threading a needle is easy.
2. Tying the knot at the end his not. His ham bone fingers had trouble rolling the thread off of his index finger.
3. Poking the needle through the blanket is easy.
4. Poking the needle back up through the patch is not – at least not without stabbing your finger!
5. Sewing patches on a blanket is easy.
6. Sewing patches on a blanket so they look nice is not.
7. Sewing patches on a blanket yourself takes longer than watching Mom do it.
8. Sewing patches on a blanket yourself provides more personal satisfaction and feelings of accomplishment than when Mom does it for you.

Before we started, we inspected the other patches on the blanket. I laughed out loud when he said “Wow! That patch was put on this blanket before I was even born!” I think that’s awesome – he’s understanding how cool it is to be part of a group with such a history. He commented himself on how some of the patches were on better than others and some just looked nicer than others. I asked which way he wanted to sew – he said he wanted them to look nice and not fall off. Good Man!

I don’t have any pictures because Hubby was overseeing the sewing while I sat in the chair sewing patches on Dude’s uniform and sash.

Overall, he did a great job. He sewed on two patches, both shaped like giant arrowheads. He only bunched the fabric a little bit under one of them; so we’ll call it a success :-) Now that we know he’s capable, he’ll get a lot more practice sewing his own¬†patches on his sash and uniform!

Boedie Battery Battle

Much to our surprise, Dude and Princess decided they wanted to participate in the elementary science fair this year – they even decided to do a project together as a team!

After much discussion, they decided to see which battery would light a lightbulb the longest. Wow did we all learn a lot while they did this experiment! Did you know that you can’t light a regular lightbulb with batteries? We didn’t – I guess if we’d thought about it, we could’ve figured it out, but not something we knew off the top of our heads. They ended up using flashlight batteries.

They were also stunned when NONE of the batteries lit the lightbulb for an entire day – even the battery that said it lasts 8x longer than the rest! As a result, all the lightbulbs were out and batteries drained during the night while we slept. So, they set up the experiment again, early in the morning, to make sure they could document the brightness of each bulb on the hour and note when the batteries ran out of juice.

Much to their surprise, the most economical battery was the one that lasted the shortest amount of time! We were really proud of the kids 1) for working together and 2) for coming up with awesome ideas for their presentation. We helped them follow-through on those ideas, but they were the minds behind the design.

Everyone at the fair said their project was the most useful and that they were very impressed that they did the project together. They got a 2nd place ribbon and are already talking about what they might want to do next year :-)


Got Lake?

More from WI. Have I ever mentioned how glad I am that I have 2 kids and that they actually LIKE each other?








Got Mud?

More from WI. No, you’re not supposed to drive until you’re 16 . . . but sometimes I’m willing to break the rules in the name of fun. No, Princess does not have freckles :-)









Crackers and Cupcakes

On my typical Monday morning yesterday, I was volunteering in Princess’ 1st grade classroom. One of the things they were working on was identifying cracker (dry, boring) words and changing them to¬†cupcake (fun, exciting) words. So the sentence “My mom is very pretty.” would end up being something like “My mom is extremely beautiful.”

Last night at dinner. . .

Me: Princess, where are you going?
Princess: I’m full.
Me: Sit down. You haven’t eaten any of your chili. You are going to be hungry and there will be no snacks.
P: Oh fine.

She eats a couple Fritos dipped into her chili and gets up again.

Me: What are you DOING?!
P: I ate some more.
Me: Um, you ate some more chips. Try 2 more big bites of chili.
P: OK – fine!

She takes two small bites of chili and starts to clear her stuff from the table.

Me: Seriously? That was not two big bites.
P: looking over her should as she walks away to the kitchen with her bowl in hand . . . Well, it WAS two bites, and you said TWO bites. Anyways РBIG is a cracker word. You should use something better like LARGE or  GINORMOUS!

Oh how I LOVE her big Рer ginormous Рpersonality :-)

Teacher Gifts – Foam Flowers

We had a rainy Memorial Day weekend – and it’s STILL raining and supposed to be raining all week. We did squeeze in some pickup baseball and barbecues between the rain showers and had a blast!

In between the breaks in the rain, the kiddos and I got busy making gifts for their teachers. They each had 2 teachers in their classrooms this year – all 4 of them were AWESOME – we totally loved them.¬†We had to come up with 4 of something that weren’t too expensive, but still said a huge Thank You from the heart. We decided on foam flower bouquets (a big thanks to my friend, Gail, for the idea!).

The kids spent quite a bit of time cutting out flower petals and leaves while I got my fingers all sticky and full of splinters putting floral tape and foam petals on bamboo skewers. But, I think they turned out well! (excuse the poor photo quality – in my infinite wisdom, I set the bouquets in front of a window!)


Princess chose some shorter metal buckets for her teachers. This one and a pink one just like it. It took her and her little kindergarten fingers quite a while in a couple sessions to cut out all of these flower petals, but she did it! I was very proud of her.



Dude chose some fun tall metal buckets for his flowers. This one and a yellow one for his other teacher. It didn’t take him quite as long to cut out his petals, and I didn’t have to do as much “rounding” of his corner cutting as I did with the ones Princess cut out.




Here are¬†a couple pictures of the flowers from the top. We put gift cards to Hobby Lobby inside each¬†bouquet (except for Princess’ teenage assistant – she got an iTunes gift card).

I won’t claim that the kids did this project without a little whining. There was a LOT of cutting involved, and they did get tired of it after a while. BUT, they stuck it out and understood the importance of putting time into something special for people who are important to you.

And, I will say, that they were both so proud when their teachers were so happy and grateful for their handmade¬†gifts. Dude may have even whispered “That was totally worth the effort.”

What would I do different next time? I’d put more petals on each of the roses. I’d also mix and match the colors for the other flowers instead of just using the two colors they each chose for each flower. It was their project, so I did as I was told, but I might try to influence their decisions a little more next time ūüėČ

Any teachers out there? What was the best gift you’ve received? What is a gift you’d LIKE to receive from a student?

Lesson At The Museum

The kids and I went to The Museum of Nature and Science with some friends this past weekend. We had a BLAST! The IMAX movie on The Grand Canyon was awesome. But, what taught everyone the best lesson had to be the Egyptian Mummies.

We spent quite a while with the mummies . . . because they’re COOL! They had two “real live” mummies in there. They were labeled and there was a board comparing the two . . . a Rich Woman’s Mummy and a Poor Woman’s Mummy. The boards pointed out¬†how they knew one was rich and one was poor . . . the rich woman had her brain removed and organs removed and packed in linen and put back inside of her before she was wrapped up. She also had some metal objects packed in with her for the afterlife (could see them on the CT scan they had performed). The poor woman had all of her organs intact inside of her body and hadn’t been sent with anything “special” to help her in her journey through the afterlife.

Dude and I had a talk about this later that evening. After we got past a very rudimentary discussion of what the “afterlife” was all about, he wondered why the rich woman would be better off? Wouldn’t the poor woman be better off because she had her brain to think with and her heart to keep her alive? Why would anyone pay to¬†have their¬†brain sucked out through their nose, anyway? Why did only the rich people get their brains sucked out and their other organs wrapped up special? Shouldn’t everyone have that done if it would help them later? Why didn’t the rich woman’s family help pay for the poor woman to be a mummy so she could have a good afterlife, too? It’s not fair.

Lots of questions. In the end, his 8 year old brain came to the conclusion that it didn’t really matter how they were mummified because they were both here, in the same museum, right next to each other with us looking at them, and WE couldn’t tell the difference. Maybe they couldn’t tell the difference in the afterlife, either, and the poor woman with the brian would do just fine.

I love how 8 year olds think.

A Good Time Was Had By All

We took off for the mountains again on Saturday. It was a beautiful day! The snow was awful and there were quite a few people, but we still had a great time :-) Now if only Princess would stop asking me constantly as she follows me down the mountain “Mommy, why do you go so slow?”