Category Archives: Kids

Project Q

I adore my kids.  I really do.  And my older two have been well taught to entertain themselves.  The little one…not so much.  And as much as I love playing restaurant with her or reading her newest story or listening to her tell me all the videos she is going to look up on youtube or finding her scissors because she lost hers AGAIN, I really need her to learn to entertain herself some of the time.  She’s never had to.  Probably because she’s flipping adorable and came late in our child-bearing days, so we have 2 teenagers and a 6 year old in the house now.  That means she’s always had someone willing to dote on her.  She’s never had to learn to entertain herself.

Welcome to Summer 2010, kiddo.

I’m instituting a rule.  (Hear me now, ye children!)  At the start of next week, we will all be choosing a spot, inside or outside the house, to be our VERY OWN.  No brothers and sisters allowed.  And once those spots are all dolled up to our liking, we will spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day there.  And unless there is fire or gushing blood, there is no bothering anyone else during those sacred minutes.  I’m hoping this will help Quin to learn to entertain herself and also to give the older kids a break from always being her entertainment.  (That might even make them willing to actually spend time doing something with her.  Hey…a mom can hope…)

Fingers firmly crossed.


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Let there be light


Made this lamp shade today. Well, not entirely today. I traced and cut out the pieces on Sunday while watching Arrested Development. (I love Netflix…)  The picture is from my cell, so it’s not a great one, but it’s the one I have to work with right now.

No, I did not come up with the idea.  If you are interested, go here.  I used simple poster board.  The super cheap stuff.  2 for $1 at the dollar store.  I didn’t want to spend more money on another material until I saw I really loved it.  Now I’ll be heading back for those flexible cutting boards.  Also 2 for $1.  I sense a theme…

Anyway, it is going towards making Quinlan’s play space a well lit and cozy space.  A little paint and sewing is all that’s left…guess I better get to work.

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(No, I don’t know how to pronounce that.)

But, remember that post I did a while back on new beginnings and all?  (It’s okay, I kinda forgot about it, too.)  I’ll obviously not be doing that, because…well, I don’t know why.  Laziness, probably.  (Okay, definitely.)

Well, today that changes.  (Don’t get your hopes up for tomorrow tho.)

I’m sick today.  Summer colds are the worst things ever.  (Okay, I am exaggerating, but they are NO fun.)  So, I have been parked on the couch and hoping the kids find ways to entertain themselves without the need for me to be involved.  Of course, I have a six year old…

And she is beside herself excited about The Mom Jar.  I don’t really want to encourage misbehavior to dip into said jar, so I let her choose something to do, thinking that the odds were that she would get something she would be able to alone.  Without my help or input.

Drumroll, please…

I wasn’t terribly nervous, because this jar is FULL of things she can do by herself.  (Yes, by design.  I’m not stupid.)

And of course…

Of course.

Why wouldn’t it be one of the few she needs me for?

Being the dutiful Mom I am, I made the play dough, pulled out a tray for her to play with it on, and went to sit down, thinking I had at least bought myself a little slice of me-time.

About 5 minutes later, she was asking to pull another slip.

Sigh.  Maybe this whole thing was a bad idea.

Okay, so this isn’t just a nothing post, here is the recipe I used for the play dough:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cup water

3 tsp cream of tartar

3/4 cup salt

1 1/2 TBSP cooking oil

Put everything in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it comes together into a ball.  Turn out and knead to the consistency of “real” PlayDoh.  Then I divide it into pieces and add a few drops of food coloring to one, kneading it in until the color is evenly distributed.   Quin got pink and pale blue play dough because I was too tired for more.

And no pictures, either…for the same reason.

And here’s your inspiration, from the fine site, Nature Moms:

Peanut Butter Playdough


  • 2 cups peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • Nonfat dry milk or milk plus flour
  • Cocoa or carob for chocolate flavor (optional)
  • Edible treats for decoration


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix, adding enough dry milk or milk plus flour to reach the consistency of bread dough.
  2. Add cocoa or carob, if desired.
  3. Shape, decorate with edible treats, and eat!

Great fun.  Enjoy.  When I am feeling better I will even put this on a slip in The Jar.

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Filed under Crafty, family, Kids, Mom Jar

Mom Jar

I’m known amongst my kids’ friends as the “Strict Mom,” a title I am not altogether unhappy to hold.  (The actual title is probably closer to “Mean Mom”, which is also fine by me, because my kids fear of me is just being reinforced by the opinions of their friends.)  I have no problem whatsoever saying “No.” to my kiddos and meaning it with finality.  My kids also recognize the tone with which I use this particular “No.” and rarely ever try and push me to change my mind once I’ve used it.  That being said, I have GREAT kids who are very well behaved, but they ARE kids and they fight amongst each other.  A lot.

And that gives me a headache.

Which I don’t like.  I also don’t like yelling at them for it, even tho that is my instinct.  (Grew up in a family of yellers.  I come by it honestly.)  And a bit of backstory…I promise this ties in and there is a point…I homeschooled my kids for 4 1/2 years.  This past August, that all changed.  They went back to public school.  And now they are home again for the summer.  Soooo…now I need a way to keep them from fighting too much while we count the days to the next school year.

Enter The Mom Jar.

I’m sure you have all seen those ideas out there for “Boredom Busters” jars.  Cute jars decorated and filled with slips of paper with an activity on them.  There are rules that go along with them depending on the individual family.

Here are mine, as told to my children:  1. If you pull a slip, you MUST complete the task, for at least a half an hour, before pulling another one or complaining again or there will be a loss of privileges you DO like.  2.  If you fight with a sibling and cannot settle things amongst yourselves within 10 minutes, pull a slip and do the task listed, WITH the sibling(s) involved in the argument.  (You only get three slips a day for this one, or you are grounded.)  And be quiet.  3.  If you say “I’m bored!”  or “There’s nothing to do!”, pull a slip.  And be quiet.  4.  If you complain about having to do a chore, take a slip, complete the chore you were complaining about, then complete the task on the slip.  And be quiet.  5.  If Mom says to take one, take one.  And be quiet.

Here’s our starting list of things in the jar:  (You will note lots of fun stuff, and some stuff that is not so fun.  Hopefully the threat of those will keep them from turning to the jar too often.)

Play in the hose/sprinkler

Make a lemonade stand

Do a load of laundry from start to finish

Unload/load the dishwasher

Take the dogs for a walk

Clean out the refrigerator

Pull weeds

Make cupcakes

Make a batch of cookies

Go swimming

Go to the beach

Read a book (turn the TV off!)

Go to the park

Water the plants

Have some family time

Play a board game

Go shoot some baskets

Play baseball in the backyard

Plan a family night

Do a scavenger hunt

Do some schoolwork

Start a journal

Draw some pictures

Go outside and play!

Have an art show

Write a letter to a grandparent

Write a letter to your friends

Play hopscotch

Play with sidewalk chalk

Look at a photo album


Do yoga

Make an obstacle course

Make an indoor fort (using the couch, table, chairs and blankets)

Play a video game

Ride your bike

Play dress up

Go take some pictures

Help plan dinner

Have a picnic

Watch a movie with popcorn

Color some coloring pages


Take out the trash

Clean your room

Organize your toys

Clean the toilets

Clean the windows

Go for a walk

Take a nap

Sweep the floor

Sweep the driveway

Sweep the front walk

Wash and clean out the car

Build with blocks

Build with Legos

Make a treasure map (and hide “treasure”…give the map to someone else to find it!)

Make homemade play dough

Do a jigsaw puzzle

Build a dollhouse out of recycled materials and furnish it too

Learn some origami

Make paper airplanes and have a flying contest

Go to the library

Help Mom with one of her projects

Learn to juggle

Make a collage

Learn to knit

Learn to embroider

Mend things in the mending pile

Straighten up the living room

Straighten up the kitchen

Straighten up the family room

Straighten up the bathrooms

Straighten up the dining room

Clean the back porch

Call and chat with a friend

Go thru your books and pull out some to donate

Go thru your clothes and pull out some to donate

Create a new look with some old clothes

Listen to a cd of your parents (the whole thing!) and tell them what you think

Learn the words to one of your parents favorite songs

Make a music video for one of your favorite songs

Dust the bookshelves

Poop patrol the backyard

Make puppets and put on a puppet show for your other siblings

Play restaurant

Play store

Make a track for Hot Wheels using the entire living room floor

Play a round of American Idol on Expert

Make up your own card game and teach someone how to play

Teach Quinlan how to multiply

Learn how to say basic things in a foreign language (Pretend you are stuck in a country for a week.  What would you need to know how to say?)

Make a fairy/gnome house

Pick a destination and make a travel brochure to convince your parents to take you there

Design, contruct and play your own musical instrument out of recyclables

Plan a Backyard Olympics Day

Teach Brody or Missy a new trick.  (One that won’t get you or the dog in trouble.)

Make bread from scratch

Make a batch muffins and put them in the freezer for busy mornings

Read a book of Mom’s choosing.  Out loud.  To everyone.

Help Mom sort the photos and put them in albums

Make a Christmas List

Make a Christmas present for someone

Make shadow puppets

Make sun prints

Make leaf print cards

Make a stencil for a t-shirt

Play with the Magic Window

Make all the beds in the house

Make a dog toy

Give the dogs a bath

Lost and Found the house

Learn a magic trick

Go thru your toys and pick out some to donate

Spin in circles in the yard

Make smoothies for everyone

Create your own comic book

Pick a part of the yard that will be yours alone and decorate it

Dust all the baseboards in one room

Pick up all the trash outside

Pick up all the fallen branches and sticks in the yard

I’ll add more as I think of them, but for now, they are printed out, cut into strips and living in a vintage jar in the living room.  I’ll let you know if it works.  And if I keep my sanity.

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Obviously I suck at keeping a blog…

But I have three kids.  And a husband.  Who demand my attention all the freaking time.

Anyway, I’m currently getting insanely sick of my girls (who share a room) fighting with each other all the time.  Not to mention having completely different schedules.  Makes for fun times when one is ready for bed and the other wants to watch tv or read.  It’s their room equally, so who wins?  Usually no one, because I get all Godzilla and flip out at both of them for making so much damn noise.  (I don’t win in that case either, cause that’s not the mom I want to be.)

Soooooo…I need some options to keep the peace around here during the summer.  School lets out on Wednesday and then I have to entertain them for WEEKS.  And to add to the mix, I have been hearing a lot of  “I’m bored!  There’s nothing to do!” lately.  My great-grandmother told me when I was a kid and complained of being bored that, “Only boring people are ever bored.”  Ouch.  I only heard that one time before that phrase was struck from my vocabulary.  Completely.  I don’t think I have said it again in the 30+ years that have passed.  (I can’t even blame the husband for the kids picking up the term.  School teaches more than ABCs.  But that’s another post…)  Probably because I believe it’s true.  I have many and varied interests and always have something I am working on.  Or at the very least I have things I need to do.

Enter this blog entry from Drab to Fab.  Yay!  Great ideas.  Unfortunately, I have a hard time getting my kids outdoors during the summer.  Not because we don;t have a great yard and fun stuff to do in it.  Not because they prefer being indoors (except the boy…I am beginning to doubt he’s actually mine…), but because we live in Florida.  Let me illustrate the point with today’s weather.  It is 11am.  The actual temp is 84 degrees.  The FEELS like temp is 102.  I’ll give you a minute.

102 degrees.

Yeah.  It’s miserable outside.  I’ve been spending some time outside the last few days and have gotten a “heat headache” every single day.  I’m hydrating plenty, but the heat just takes it to an extreme my body is not equipped to deal with.  So, how do I banish the kids outside to play for longer than an hour or so…in the morning only?  Thing is, I can’t.  So a bunch of ideas that work fine for people who don’t live in Hell’s Waiting Room won’t work for us.

Time to put the thinking cap on.

And that always leads to trouble.

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When life hands you t-shirts…

…you make skirts.  Of course.  Duh.

Here’s the process:

Read many blogs.  Find super cute ideas for re-purposing t-shirts, etc. that inspire you so much you actually drag out and dust off the sewing machine that has been lurking in the corner mocking you for not having the drive to actually sew the couch cushion covers.  While you are thinking about what clothes you can pillage to re-purpose them somehow, the girl children decide, oddly, to clean up their clothing dumping ground (aka closet).  Then, this conversation occurs:

–  Eldest Girl Child:  “Mom, I found this shirt and I don’t want it any more, what do you want me to do with it?”  (Y’all saw that hint, too, right??)

– Me:  “Let me see it…hmmm…Oh!  It would make a super cute skirt for you!”

– EGC:  “Uhhhh..sure, Mom.  Whatever.”

– Me:  “I’ll add some ruffles to the bottom.  You’ll wear it, right?”

– EGC:  “With the ruffles…ummmm…I don’t…”

– Me:  “No, no!  The ruffles will be cool, not girly.”

– EGC:  “Maybe…”

– Me:  “You’ll see.”

I don’t have a before picture of the shirt because I cut it up just about immediately.

Simple, simple.  Cut across the top, right under the arms.  Folded down and sewed a channel for an elastic waistband.  Turned some of the scraps were turned into ruffles.  Ba-dow!

Yeah, she’s totally wearing it.  And loves it.

The T-Shirt Skirt

Okay, I’m not done yet tho.  I was so inspired, I made a trip to the thrift store.  They have a rack outside that is a fill-a-bag thing.  That day it was fill a bag for $2.  I got several t-shirts for the EGC to wear, a couple for the YGC (that’s Youngest Girl Child, btw), and this awesome boy shirt I had plans for:

Boy shirt/skirt before


I knew there was no way I could get the YGC to wear this as-is, so the skirt solution was the only way to go.  Partly because I just couldn’t think of anything else to make with it, but mostly because I fell head-over-heels with the border at the bottom and I didn’t want to do anything to disrupt the awesomeness.

I cut straight across the shirt right under the arms.  Then, since it was missing a button down low, I pillaged one from the top scraps and sewed it on.  Sewed the shirt shut on either sides of the button channel.  What the heck is that called?  I know there is a name for it.  It’s going to drive me crazy…brb, going to look it up…PLACKET!!  I *knew* there was a word for it.  Moving on…

Sewed an elastic waistband in at the top and ta-da!  Done and done.  Super cute, too.

But that might just be the model.

Boy shirt/skirt after

After - Close up

She kinda just makes everything cuter.

And that’s all there is to it.  Next up for those surplus t-shirts…PANTS!

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Filed under Crafty, House and Home, Kids, sewing