Archives for category: Projects or crafts

After having seen my friend Aimee Smith do this to her outdoor, plastic kid gear at least two years ago, I told Matt we needed to remember that trick. Our own playhouse had fallen into disrepair and nature was taking it over. Spiders everywhere inside (along with their cobwebs and egg sacks). Dirt, dust, and leaves coating all surfaces. The Texas sun had been beating down, fading the once bright doors, shutters, and roof.

This picture, taken with my magic camera that makes everything look better, does not do justice to how dirty and faded it had become.

This picture, taken with my magic camera that makes everything look better, does not do justice to how dirty and faded it had become.

 

Scary lair of spiders, wasps, and possibly badgers

Scary lair of spiders, wasps, and possibly bears

It was just not a place I could confidently smile and say to the girls, “Your playhouse? Sure! The odds are slim that you’ll make it out of there without several bites, stings, or rashes. Go for it!” I learned my lesson two weeks ago when poor, defenseless Cortland wandered inside while Harper and I were watering the garden. Shrieking ensued. Swelling commenced. Wasp sting right on her chubby, little, dimpled baby hand.  I did find the wasp nest later when I was scrubbing. The little devils had made a huge home under the fold-down table. That was the last straw. (Side bar: Cortland’s wasp sting was instantly soothed and the swelling stopped when I put Purification essential oil from Young Living  on it).

And now, a picture tour of the process:

Matt giving things a good spray down

Matt giving things a good spray down

Scrubbing the grime away. This was the most tedious part, but so necessary.

Scrubbing the grime away. This was the most tedious part, but so necessary. In fact, we had planned to paint the main body, but the scrub down made such a difference, we left the tan as-is.

Matt built a platform to set the entire structure on so that the inside will hopefully not get SO dirty SO fast.

Matt built a platform (out of trashed wooden fence sections that a neighbor had discarded) to set the entire structure on so that the inside will hopefully not get SO dirty SO fast.

Spray paint. There are two types for outdoor plastics (at least with the brand we bought at WalMart). One has a picture of a playhouse on it and one just says it can be used on plastic. SPEND THE EXTRA BUCK and get the one with the playhouse picture. We got a couple of each and the cheaper one was runny and difficult to use (the cheap one we used on the yellow shutters and it was way more splotchy).

Spray paint. There are two types for outdoor plastics (at least with the brand we bought at WalMart). One has a picture of a playhouse on it and one just says it can be used on plastic. SPEND THE EXTRA BUCK and get the one with the playhouse picture. We got a couple of each and the cheaper one was runny and difficult to use (the cheap one we used on the yellow shutters and it was way more splotchy…you can tell in some of the pictures).

Fancy, schmancy "wood floors"

Fancy, schmancy “wood floors”

Matt made a little planter box, which I stuck some fake flowers inside.

Matt made a little planter box, which I stuck some fake flowers inside.

Finished it off with a flag and some mulch (which always makes everything look better).

Finished it off with a flag and some mulch (which always makes everything look better).

Our playhouse was a hand-me-down, but I looked it up online to see how much it retails for: $500.00. FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS. Do yourself a favor if you’re in the market for one of these. Go find a dirty, faded, garage sale playhouse for $10, spend $25 in spray paint, and make a custom-colored house for your kid. Also, get this: Within 45 minutes of putting the made-over house back together, the wasps showed up again! I’m killing them one-by-one right now, but does anybody have any tips for keeping them at bay without dousing the structure in poison?

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I fell off the blog-wagon there for awhile and it’s because I was spending every free the-girls-are-finally-asleep minute making this:

Harper's Dollhouse

Harper’s Dollhouse

I’m not even going to pretend that I don’t think it’s that cool because I’m really quite pleased. Harper has been into dollhouses since her cousin Ava shared hers one afternoon a few months back while we were at their house. Matt and I decided that we’d give Harper a dollhouse for her 4th birthday (which was earlier this month). We are both partial to the wooden, realistic-looking variety of dollhouses, but have you priced those things out recently?? Holy cow. Finished for youKit that you put together. Soooooo…Matt and I did what we usually do when we want something that is too expensive. We tried to make it ourselves. Every DIY attempt doesn’t always end up looking right, but this one did.

Matt found a big, deep drawer at ReStore for 97 cents. That became the main structure. He then went to Home Depot and found a nice big piece of scraped (clearanced) plywood for about $9. After that, he used his man-intuition (along with a tape measure and saw) to build floor levels (which he also stained), room dividers, and a pitched roof (also, the little front door porch). After that, I added the color and detail. I used scrap book paper (plus modge podge to seal it on) and paint for the walls. On the outside, I hot glued popsicle sticks and used more scrap book paper to make windows/embellishments. Oh – I also had wallet sized family pictures printed, which I “framed” and modge-podged to the walls. We bought little roof shingles at Hobby Lobby, which I hot glued to the plywood. Including supplies that I already had at home, we did not spend more than $25 to build this thing and it is S.T.U.R.D.Y. This last weekend, we had a “house-warming” party for Harper with family and everyone contributed to furnish rooms in the house. Harper was totally surprised and, I mean, LOVES the dollhouse. And I quote, “I love it! Thank you, everyone! You guys are the BEST!” We still have a couple more rooms to put furniture in, but she’s having a blast with her little family and their space. And now, a picture tour of the process.

The drawer on Day 1

The drawer on Day 1

Starting on the rooms

Starting on the rooms

With Matt's roof attached

With Matt’s roof attached

All the rooms "colored"

All the rooms “colored”

With shingles ... this step made a world of difference!

With shingles … this step made a world of difference!

Resting between windows

Resting between windows

Views from the outside

Views from the outside

finished 004 finished 005

finished 007

Views from the inside

Views from the inside

finished 016 finished 015

Harper's Dollhouse

Harper’s Dollhouse

You’re going to learn a new term in today’s post and it’s “Snow Globe Happy.” It’s even pictured at the end of this entry.

I wish you guys could be flies on the wall when Harper is dancing. I don’t really even know how to describe it. Poking. Flapping. Shaking. Squatting. Pointing. Jumping. Absolutely NO flow or predictability. I’m going to have to post a video eventually, but this is December PHOTO project. So. Pics ahead and I super-wish they were in motion.

I think her luxurious fur jacket really adds something, don't you?

I think her luxurious fur jacket really adds something, don’t you?

Squatting WHILE flapping here.

Squatting WHILE flapping here. And smiling at nothing in particular.

You should know that there's no music, nor is anyone else in the kitchen. She's just high off of here completed project!

You should know that there’s no music, nor is anyone else in the kitchen. She’s just high off of her completed project!

Today’s Advent activity is what inspired Harper to do all the dancing. She’s developed a fascination this year with snow globes, so we made some out of cleaned-out jelly and pasta sauce jars. I bought some little trees and people (oh, and glitter) at the dollar store. She was amazed by the whole thing – totally loved it. She started cutting a rug and, well, once she starts, she can’t stop. It’s known as snow globe happy. I just love her.

Harper and I making the globes.

Harper and I making the globes.

This is snow globe happy, guys.

This is snow globe happy, guys.

Whew. Losing steam apparently with photo-a-day! The entries are getting progressively more lazy or late!

Telling secrets?

Telling secrets?

At any rate, you should know that the subject matter of today’s entry is no representation of my waning adherence to the photo project. This afternoon, Cortland and I were able to join Harper at The Hayes School of Wonder, which is the preschool she attends twice a week. It was their Christmas party and it was a blast. Harper ADORES preschool (understatement of the year). Of course she’s learning a lot, but I am always excited to hear her love stories about her school friends. There’s Reagan, who Harper told me was her best friend on Day 1. As the story goes, according to Harper, Reagan is the one who first informed her of this arrangement. For the first two months of school, Harper called her friend Hudson “Husband” – the words just got mixed up in her head and it was hilarious. I’m actually a little sad she figured it out and stopped. Riley must be the class sweetheart because Harper talks a lot about how everyone is always giving him hugs. Harper says “Little Lizzie” is very quiet (she calls her “Little Lizzie” in every reference of the poor girl – in H’s defense, she is rather petite).  Kailee Grace likes a lot of the same foods and Harper apparently tries trading items with her (read: Harper tries to pawn off her ants-on-a-log for more cheese).

Can you guess who is who (Riley not pictured)?

Can you guess who is who? (Riley not pictured)

Mrs. Marissa. Harper’s teacher. Who, as far as Harper is concerned, hung the moon. We are really thankful for Mrs. Marissa who has shown SO much love, patience, and insight for not only teaching Harper, but all the other small fries in her class. HSW is the best!

Harper and her favorite

Harper and her favorite

Alright, we’ve been iced inside the house for 5 days now and we’re all at varying degrees of asldjf;asl. Luckily, being a stay at home mom, I’ve built up a considerable amount of tolerance for indoor days. Also luckily, Matt’s fantasy football team has been doing really good today so, in this moment, he’s flying high enough that he may even be under the delusion that we’re on a beach in Mexico.

Harper whisk fencing

Harper whisk fencing

When we opened up today’s Advent card, I was a little annoyed as I realized what I had chosen for today’s activity because I knew it’d be a lot of work and also somewhat testing of my patience…I wasn’t sure that, in our heightened state of irritability, we could make it through. However, it’s done and we’re all still alive and intact. Actually, as a result of me getting myself mentally geared up to bake bread (our activity), I ended up being more productive all-around today. Take that, cold weather.

Day 8: Jesus is the Bread of Life

Read: John 6.25-40
Talk About: What does bread do for your body?
                         What is your soul?
                         What does the Bread of Life (Jesus) do for your soul?
Activity: Make bread.
Ready to bake! And, yes, I have loaf pans...we baked on a sheet intentionally.

Ready to bake! And, yes, I have loaf pans…we baked on a sheet intentionally.

Harper helped me make a really easy, kid-friendly quick bread which turned out rather tasty, despite it’s humble appearance.

I think she likes it.

I think she likes it.

Aaaaaaand, since I already had all the supplies out; aaaaand since I was out of my “own” bread; aaaaaaand since the first round of bread had put me in a baking mood, I made another bread recipe. I guess I’m a little bit of a diva for having my “own” bread, but I’m not eating processed wheat anymore because I’m trying to regulate my thyroid naturally.  That’s another story for another post. Believe me, it was a SAD DAY when I read an article which said that eliminating processed wheat might do the trick. At any rate, I sent Harper along her merry way (Lord knows I only have the patience for ONE round of bread-baking with my three year old – I’m no saint for crying out loud) and made this gluten-free honey oat bread that is quite good. Check it out if you’re into not eating processed wheat and need a good bread recipe!

Advent Day 7

Advent Day 7

Day 7: Jesus is Love

Read: John 15.9-17
Talk About: What is the command Jesus gave us?
                          What are ways that we can show love?
                          Why is it important to show love to others?
Activity: Write love notes of encouragement to give to three different people.
 

Harper answered, “What is the command Jesus gave us?” with an emphatic “Do your chores!”. She definitely confused me with Jesus right there. For the activity, she picked three people she wanted to send a love note to and then dictated to me her message. Followed by her own artwork creation covering the leftover blank space on the card. And scratching out what is now a recognizable H-A-R-P-E-R. Yay, preschool!

Smiling to herself

Smiling to herself

"Haha! Mama, I made my mouth yellow!"

“Haha! Mama, I made my mouth yellow!”

Examining her work.

Examining her work.

Writing notes of encouragement is something I love to do – and notes in the mail is something I love to receive. Isn’t it fun to find a “real” piece of mail in the middle of your pile of presorted standard ads, promotions, credit card offers and bills? It’s a lost art, I tell you! But not lost on this house…note-writing is a regularly scheduled program!

That’s ice alright.

Those pretty little leaves didn't even see it coming.

Those pretty little leaves didn’t even see it coming.

Cortland gearing up to brave the great outdoors.

Cortland gearing up to brave the great outdoors.

We have been in the habit of doing our Advent reading after dinner. With the ice we got overnight, we decided to go out earlier when it’d hopefully not be as biting. Also, we didn’t watch the Carrie Underwood Sound of Music last night. Matt wanted to wait and DVR it just in case it blows. Was it good? I saw some Facebook chatter last night, but nothing that really indicated if it’s worth the investment of time or not. Anyway, that to say, family Sound of Music night tonight.

Day 6: Jesus Leads Us

Read: Luke 9.57-62
Talk About: Where does Jesus lead us?
                         Can we trust him to lead us?
                         Is it important to follow him?
Activity: Follow the Leader around the block
"SNOW!"

An airborne, “SNOW!”

Huddling for warmth.

Huddling for warmth.

Following the leader

Following the leader