If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you’ve noted all of the arts and crafts taking place in our home. I am a glutten for punishment, I know. It sort of makes my heart sing though, when my 4yo comes up to me, abandoning her Saturday morning cartoons, asking if I could “set up an activity” for her. Of course, I then need to abandon my hot cup of coffee to spend the next 30 minutes trying to figure out exactly WHAT activity she had in mind because clearly none of the ones I have chosen, the ones that require minimal adult intervention, make the cut. A small price to pay, I say to myself, as I put my coffee in the microwave for the 9th time.

Whenever possible, I insert art into my kids’ day. They especially like to make art for others. Cards for friend’s and family’s birthday’s are fan favorites.

But the mother of all homemade cards: Valentines Day.

I heart doilies and pink construction paper. Call me old fashioned like that. With buckets full of puffy hearts and a ton of glitter, my girls got to work. Their Valentines did not disappoint.


Heart shaped glitter laden Valentines in the making!




The “dead” Valentine.

Sarah decided to give all her valentines “faces” and make them into people. The above was my favorite, the “Dead One” as she called it. I’d love to know which friend got this card!

Do your kids make homemade gifts or cards?

Have a great crazy day!


A Weekend in Review and Some of My Favorite Things

We had a GREAT weekend. It was one of those weekends that if someone was keeping score, we would totally be winning. I am not sure what we would be winning at or what the prize would be, but we were totally winning.

It was a weekend all about family. Not chores. Not errands. Not cleaning. Not shopping.

Just being with family.

While we’ve been on vacation with family and friends this summer, we’ve not just had a weekend together, our family, spending time together without the errands/chores that keep us from really spending time together.

We cooked out on the grill. EVERY.NIGHT. (which means I did not do a large part of the cooking! SCORE!)

I actually tried out some fun kid activities I found on Pinterest. Isn’t that almost unheard of? Don’t we all just pin that stuff, stare at it and say “who has the time?”

We went on a day trip to the Shenendoah for some family fun which included dinosaurs.

We read TONS of books and none were the 2 annoying ones we usually need to read a bazillion times in a row.

I went to our community garden for the first time in 3 weeks expecting a disaster and instead was greeted by a dozen ripe tomatoes. Score again!

So, fresh off a good weekend I thought I’d share some of my favorite things from this weekend, from recipes to awesome kids books to the decrepit roadside attraction that is Dinosaur Land. Don’t get all hopeful a la Oprah that I am giving stuff away. No one is getting a new car from reading this post. Sorry. But I WILL point you in the right direction to make edible paint!

Favorite things

1. I highly recommend you cook out as much as possible because everything just tastes better off the grill or smoker. Also because if, like in my family, your husband does the grilling, that is an extra hour to play candy crush with the kids. Pi grilled an awesome whole chicken on the grill (which, after my post Friday, was actually seen as an act of war, but after tasting the best skin on a chicken EVER I forgave him). Just seasoned with salt/pepper/olive oil on the outside and stuffed with lemon/onion/rosemary on the inside, grill for 40 minutes on indirect heat. DEEEElicious.

We also had a cucumber explosion and I needed a recipe for a cucumber salad and found this recipe on Allrecipe:

Adrienne’s Cucumber Salad

4 cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 small white onion, thinly sliced
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon dried dill, or to taste

Toss together the cucumbers and onion in a large bowl. Combine the vinegar, water and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, and pour over the cucumber and onions. Stir in dill, cover, and refrigerate until cold. This can also be eaten at room temperature, but be sure to allow the cucumbers to marinate for at least 1 hour.

I used white wine vinegar and red onions instead and it was awesome.

2. Sweets loves to draw and paint and is particularly proud of her ability to “stay in the lines”. I have actually been trying to teach her that when it comes to art, you don’t always need to stay in the lines and you don’t always need to stick to the “actual” colors of things. Want a purple tree? Go for it! Want to draw a pink dog? Super! So to get her more into the “fun” of art instead of the parameters of lines in a coloring book, I made some fun paints I found on Pinterest. Click on the pics below to go to instruction page on the awesome Learn Play Imagine website. Thanks to Anna Luther over at My Life and Kids/ for posting some of these so that I could find them and then browse Pinterest for hours….

The puffy paint worked okay, though didn’t puff up as much as I thought it would. But putting it in the microwave made it dry really fast so that helped in not getting Sweets’ “beautiful” drawings all messed up before sneaking them into the trash hanging them up on the refrigerator.

The edible paint was so that Noggin could join in the fun without me needing to put a straightjacket on her to prevent her from putting paint in her mouth. But Sweets was using it by the handful and it was mostly gone and the paint that was left was a lovely shade of brown. So next time Noggin, next time!

Now I’ve set up a dangerous precedent and the first thing Sweets said to me this morning was “are you going to cook me up some paint today?” So it is safe to say it was a hit.

Train Up a Child: Homemade Puffy Paint with 3 Simple IngredientsTrain Up a Child: Oh Baby! Edible Sensory Paint

3. Day trips can be a great way to kill at least 2 hours of the day in the car spend time with the kids and get out of the confines of the house where you hear “I’m bored!” a million times or spend the majority of your time picking up the toys that have exploded all over your living room. This weekend we chose to go to Dinosaur Land out in the Shenendoah, followed by some play/hike time at Sherando Park. It was a compromise from Pi’s idea of “going hiking in the Shenendoah” and Sweets’ idea of playing all day at the local playground.

Dinosur Land, while entertaining, has seen better days. It has been around for 50 years and the dinosaurs look ancient. I know, I know….they are, after all, DINOSAURS. It is a great concept, but a bit misleading on it’s I-should-have-known-website. On the website it looks as if you will be hiking on a trail through the woods and come to statues of different dinosaurs along the way. And while that is true, the “hike through the woods” is a walk through a path over less than an acre being able to see all the dinosaurs at once. And since it is so old, you can’t climb on the dinosaurs, which is all any 4 year old wants to do. So a 90 minute trip out there equaled 10 minutes of walking through the “land” and 20 minutes of saying “put that back” in the gift shop. But it was amusing and Sweets had a great time and Noggin tolerated me putting her in the mouth of the shark (um, not a dinosaur) to take a picture.

If you are out in the Shenendoah and need a quick stop to run around, it’s worth the $5-$10 cover. But don’t make that THE destination.

4. Reading time is big at our house and I hoard collect kids books at an alarming rate. Noggin hasn’t gotten as much reading time as Mahlie did at her age- but she’s certainly around books, chews on books, sees her sister playing with books, and does get the occasional “Good Night Moon” when we are not crazed and just want to throw her into bed so we only have one child to contend with.

There are some awesome kids books out there and Sweets always has a few in rotation. Right now thankfully she has a rotation going that is pretty entertaining for adults as well so I am not wanting to stab myself in the eyes at the end of it to keep myself from ever needing to see those books again. Here are her 5 favorite-ish books of the moment. Click on the pic to order.

1. That is NOT a Good Idea– Mo Willems.

Mo Willems is brilliant and one of MY favorite kids authors. There is a great “twist” at the end of this story as he, yet again, gives his own interpretation of a familiar child hood story.

That Is Not a Good Idea!

2. Zombelina– Kristyn Crow

Even Zombies love to dance, though they may scare off their audience.


3. Dragons Love Taco’s– Adam Rubin

Just DON’T give them hot sauce….

Dragons Love Tacos

4. Nugget & Fang– Tammi Sauer

A little fish, Nugget,  learns you can’t judge your friends by the size of their teeth…and their reputation for, um, eating you.

Nugget and Fang: Friends Forever--or Snack Time?

5. Chamelia and the New Kid in Class– Ethan Long

Chamelia learns that the class has room for 2 rock stars. Great for talking about meeting new kids at school, giving everyone a chance, and just being nice.

Chamelia and the New Kid in Class

In other news:

Noggin is now pulling herself up to stand, so now we need to lower her crib mattress, which means she is growing up and more importantly we have little time left to move things up to higher ground and out of her reach.

Have a great crazy Day!

dinosaur land

Nothing says “Dinosaur” like King Kong!


Mommy, I’m hiking.

edible paint

Edible paints pre-whole hand as paint brush session

puffy paints 2

Puffy paint results- anticlimactic

puffy paints

“making paints”

SJ Standing

“I want out!”

SJ swing

Prelude to standing and pushing her in a swing for hours at the park- first experience swinging is a hit.


She TURNED OFF THE TV to read a book. Oh, my heart….