Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wrist Wallets

Before heading off to the Magical Kingdom at Thanksgiving last year, I decided I wanted to make something for my boys for the trip that would serve a dual purpose.  I wanted something they could put their little treasures or money in, where they would be secure, and I also wanted to give them emergency information in the case that they become separated from us at the parks. 

I found this tutorial at A Lemon Squeezy Home and knew that my boys would love them.  I let them pick out the inner fabric and their zipper color and chose the navy chevrons for the exposed side.  Then, I added a muslin label inside, where I wrote their names and our cell phone numbers with a Sharpie.  That way, they could contact us quickly in an emergency, but it was hidden from anyone else's view.  The boys loved them and happily wore them into the park.

 Of course, Mr. Three quickly tired of something on his wrist and kept pulling it off.  Mr. Three was the one we were most concerned about, only being 2 at the time and prone to clamming up around strangers.  Enter the light blue sharpie that my sister in law was smart in bringing in her bag.  Solution?  Just write his name and our cell number on his upper arm, under his shirt sleeve.  The light blue was easier to wash off at the end of the day. 

So, lots of work, or little work at all, I had my kiddos covered.  Thankfully, they all stayed together, so they didn't need those handy numbers after all.:)  Now they have a fun little cuff to wear and stow their treasures any time.  They will come in handy on future trips, I'm sure.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Summer Miscellany: Splash Pad, Legos, Toothpaste and an Anniversary

Here's a list of some of our summer activities from the previous week:

* We headed to Tempe Town Lake's Splash Pad with our summer play group.  The boys loved playing in the water.  I could hardly get them to leave. 

The measure of a successful day of play is how soundly Mr. Four naps.  Mission accomplished.

* This is the preferred spot for the three oldest Mr.'s- playing Lego Star Wars on the wii.  They would seriously play all day long if I let them.  They are lucky if they get more than 45 minutes a day. ;)

*  Mr. Four was caught blue-handed the other evening.  I knew it was a little too quiet.  Then I discovered he had assembled his own "sensory tub."  He had a grand time squishing, sampling, smearing the toothpaste all over the bathroom.  It's a step up from the toilet water that he is so fond of lately at least!

* Mr. Two is so creative.  Here is just one of his Lego creations that is all kinds of awesome:  C3PO's head on a strange purple-handed monster body, riding a skeleton horse with handlebar ears, a police light saddle with a lever.  He makes things like this all the time.  You should see him in all his imaginary play glory.  I never tire of seeing what he comes up with.

* At our second outing at the movies, Hotel Transylvania, we were able to meet up with our friends and sit together.  We shared a large popcorn and sodas, and it is a good thing that we upgraded to the free refill popcorn because Mr. Four spilled both the popcorn and the soda before the movie was over.  That boy has some skills because not only did he manage to get the floor incredibly sticky, but poured a good part of the popcorn into my purse!  The older boys seemed to like the movie and from the parts I saw when I wasn't in the bathroom with Mr. Three (who is potty trained now, yes!) or getting more popcorn or chasing Mr. Four, it looked funny.

* Mike and I celebrated our 12th anniversary on Saturday (Sunday was our actual anniversary).  Thankfully, several of our family members answered our plea for babysitting (our regular sitter was out of town), and we were able to go and do some temple sealings and head out to dinner just the two of us.  It was a perfect evening together.  A big thank you is in order for my sister Sarah and other family members who were bribed with oatmeal cookies, pizza and nephew time!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Weekend in California

Mike's brother blessed their son last weekend and we decided to take a long weekend in California with family.  We arrived late Thursday and came home Monday morning.  It was a relatively quick trip, but worth it to spend time with the Crofts.

A little over half way to Mike's parents' home, I realized I left my entire makeup bag at home as well as Mr. Two's sneakers.  A trip to Target was necessary to start off our day on Friday.  Good thing I brought my coupons! :) By the time we got to Mike's brother's home outside of Los Angeles to spend some time, it was mid afternoon.  We decided to go on with plans to drive into L.A. and explore the California Science Center with Joe and Kate, even though we got there with only one hour to play until closing time. 

The kids loved it.  We will definitely have to return another time and do more exploring. 

The ecosystem rooms were so fascinating and we just missed the huge aquarium.  We also would love to see the special space shuttle exhibit.  With free admission (just $10.00 parking) to the main museum, we will have to come back.

After the museum, we knew we would be sitting in the infamous California traffic, so we decided to head over to the L.A. Temple visitor's center and wander the temple grounds before getting a bite to eat. 

The grounds were beautiful, and with some of the cool ocean breeze drifting in, it was heavenly. 

 We wanted to have a peaceful, serene moment, and we got little glimses of it.

But the reality was, the boys could hardly sit still to take a picture or two.  Life with little kids.  Gotta love it! 

We had dinner at a little pizza/Italian restarant that Mike's brother liked.  It was tiny and the kind of place that probably wasn't used to serving a troupe of little kids.  The boys liked dragging their feet in the sawdust and watching the soccer game that was on the flat screen.  I wish we could have snapped a picture of Mr. One and Two sitting at the little table by the window, with their dinner plates, looking simultaneously so mature and so very little, chatting, smiling and eating away.  It will have to be an image that I store away in my memory.  So very sweet. 

We headed back in much lighter traffic with fuller stomachs.

Saturday morning was spent at Mike's late grandparents' home in El Monte, going through some of their things.  It is so strange to sift through another person's belongings, thinking about their stories, their lives.  We were able to keep a few things that held special meaning to Mike, as well as a few things that will add some charm and beauty to our home.  Their home was sold and hopefully a new family can fill it with happy memories of their own.

We headed to the beach, Seal Beach to be exact, for lunch and some play with a few of Mike's siblings.  The wind was cold and it was a bit overcast, but the water was actually quite warm. 

The boys wanted to jump in the waves immediately.  We convinced them to eat some food first, then they were off to the waves.  Mr. Two was especially excited to get wet, diving into the waves and splashing about.  Mr. One preferred to stay in the more shallow water himself.  Mr. Three had fun getting wet, then quickly became cold and wanted to stay wrapped in his towel with the potato chips for the rest of the outing. 

We let Mr. Four get his toes wet and try out the surf for the first time.  I think he liked it.  The waves were very rough, decidedly not boogie boarding conditions, so we hung close to the sand. 

Mr. Four really loved the sand!

All the boys seemed to enjoy playing in the sand...

After a few hours, we headed back to Calimesa for dinner and showers, and lots of visiting.

Sunday, we almost missed the baby blessing with a few wrong turns, but thankfully made it.  The church building that Joe and Jenny attend was just beautiful, lots of dark wood and interesting details.  We had lunch at their home and enjoyed the nice, cool breeze with the doors open, the kids playing in the back yard, and family eating and visiting inside and out.  I wish that we could do that in the summer here, but 110 degree days just don't allow you that freedom.  And then there was playing with the new baby, oh I love the new babies!  He is such a content, sweet little guy.  I can't believe I didn't get a picture!  We also spent a bit of time that evening playing games and visiting with Mike's sister and brother-in-law back in Calimesa. 

It was a quick trip, with lots of driving, but we were very glad to be there and spend time with the whole family.  We have been a little spoiled lately, seeing Mike's family several times already this year, with his sister getting married in April and Andrew's baptism in March.  Mr. Four is finally recognizing them and was more willing to go to them, giving lots of smiles and waves.  It was a happy time.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

What Not to Do With Oobleck

So I had this great idea to make some oobleck for the boys to play with.  Mr. One found the recipe in a book he read in school and has begged to make some for several weeks now.  I promised that we would make some when school was out.

I saw this awesome idea on Pinterest and thought the boys would love it.

Then I remembered we don't have a subwoofer.

So, the colors that they created with food dye looked amazing.  I figured we could do a little color mixing before playing with our slime.  (Yes, I did read the part in her post about the colors dying little hands gray for some time...)

I let them pick two colors and gave them a toothpick to swirl it around.  They liked watching the colors change and mix.  Mr. Three tried to add lots more color to his bowl, and I snatched the coloring away quickly, thinking I had averted a big mess.  Small victory.

I snapped a few pics of the swirling colors.  Mr. Four was enthusiastically grabbing at the camera, trying to get his hand in the bowl.  The other boys were calmly mixing and exploring.

Mr. Three stuck a finger in his bowl, saw it was bright blue and immediately wanted to wash his hands.  After insisting that he feel it, he put a hand in and was done and off to the sink to wash his blue fingers before you could blink twice.  The water in the sink was much more appealing to him, and he stayed there while the rest of his brothers played.

Then I let Mr. Four loose.  You have not seen a happier baby, grabbing fistfuls of the gooey, slimy liquid/solid and flinging it around the play mat I had set down to contain the mess.  He emptied his bowl, then set his sights on Mr. Three's abandoned bowl, as the older Mr.'s looked on in half-horror, half-amusement.  Well, red and blue do indeed make purple!

At this point, Mr. Four was having too much fun, and there was no stopping the train wreck, so I gave my unspoken consent (a look and a shoulder shrug) to Mr. One and Mr. Two.  Then, the three-man wrecking crew spent the next several minutes flinging, laughing, dripping, smashing and tasting (Mr. One dared Mr. Two, who took on the challenge after seeing Mr. Four's face full of goop). There were goopy feet, goopy hands, goopy walls and floors, and goopy, smiling faces.

At this point, I decided the easiest thing would be to let them outside and turn on the hose.  They were clean for about 2 seconds, when they discovered the mud forming beside the water table, and went straight for that.  Mr. Four was plucked from the mud (literally) then had a nice mid-afternoon shower, and the rest of the boys cleaned up outside.

I had to do some extra cleaning inside.  Luckily, none of the mess stained the walls or floors, and it cleaned up much easier than I feared it would.  Now, time will tell if the colors come out of their clothes.

Note to Self:  Next time we make oobleck, there will either be no food coloring involved and/or no Mr. Four involved.  It was worth doing once, but I don't want to have to deal with that level of mess for a while...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Salt Art and Other Summer Activities

A few highlights from our first full week of summer:

*We tried out some salt painting, the kids loved it so much they painted several pictures.  Just draw with glue, cover in salt and gently touch picture with water colors, or colored water.  They loved watching the color spread.

Just look at those concentrating faces.

Love Mr. Two's elf and spider web.

Mr. One couldn't resist painting Jabba the Hutt.  (There's our Star Wars reference of the day.)

*The little Mr.'s enjoyed playing in the water table outside, which turned into the mud table very quickly.  This is a favorite activity.

*The boys ate lots of Otter Pops and snacks.

*I had the older boys scrub the dining room chairs (they look so much better).  I am getting better at having them do more work around the house.

* Mike and I finally decided on colors and bought paint for the house interior.  That is going to be a huge project...

* As a "fun activity" for "working hard" in the morning, doing a marathon errand run, I let the boys play on the computer at my parents' house for way too long.

* We went to first summer movie, Mirror Mirror, and I almost got to watch the whole thing. Mr. Four slept through the first half, had enough snacks to keep him happy during the next quarter, then had to walk up and down the isles during the last quarter.  Thank goodness I had Mom there to help!

* We headed out to California for a long weekend of fun with family (more on that later).

* Endured the "I'm bored, Mom!" whine too many times to count, and threatened to send all toys, books, etc. to DI and give lots of extra chores.  Whining suddenly ceased. ;)

Looking forward to lots more summer fun!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Star Wars Crafting

My boys love Star Wars, this is common knowledge.  I realized that I hadn't posted some of the fun things Mike and I have created for our Star Wars loving boys, so I'm documenting them now.

I had pinned these Star Wars peg dolls a long time ago, and decided they would make a great Christmas present for our Mr.'s.  I can't take any credit for how amazing they turned out, since all I did was buy the supplies and show Mike the pin.  He painted them all.  Didn't they turn out awesome?  I love all the details.  I found the metal lunch boxes at Old Navy and knew that they would make the perfect home for these tiny characters.

When I saw this Star Wars print at JoAnns, I knew I needed to make something for my boys, but couldn't decide what.  Then I remembered this tutorial for pillowcases, found a great geometric print that coordinated with the Star Wars print, and made pillowcases for the boys.  They were so excited about them.

Using this font as a template, I also embroidered their names on the sides, "Star Wars-style" with a deep red embroidery floss.  I love the way they turned out.

Here's a close-up of the lettering.

A few weeks ago, my brother Seth gave the boys this Star Wars cookie cutter set.  The boys were so very excited to make Death Star and X-Wing cookies.  In fact, the morning after they opened them, I am pretty sure the first words out of Mr. Three's mouth were, "I'm dressed!  Can we make Star Wars cookies now?"


We used this recipe to make the cookies and left them unfrosted.  They were delicious.  The boys liked eating them as much as playing with them.

Want more?  Here's my Star Wars Crafting pin board for inspiration.  May the Force be with you...