Thursday, August 31, 2017

Coffee and friendship

I have always had a love for books that weaved history into a fictional story.  The stories of men and women living in a time where things are so much different than today, but at the same time they are so very much the same.  We are human and even though the human characters in those books that I read are fiction, they still have the same needs and wants as we do.  

Some of my favorite books, are a series about a husband and wife who travel from Sweeden to America in the 1800's to start a new life.  They leave everything behind to travel to a new world.  I  feel the excitement, adventure, loss, heartache, loneliness, creativity, and community weaved into the words and stories of these books, and they often leave me thinking about so many different things.  I feel the same way when I watch Downton Abby or Pride and Prejudice. 

I love how the women just dropped everything sometimes to "call" on someone.  Sometimes they would travel a short ways to catch up with a friend.  It was something that was worth the sacrifice of something for them to travel to the next farm to "call" on a friend.

  This is a tradition that has quickly been replaced over time with a telephone call or more recently a text.  Our hearts and souls crave community and conversation.  We have traded that community and those deep relationships for text messages and surface conversations, when our hearts desire more.  The crave more.  We are busy.  Let's face it, we juggle so many different hats each day that often times the moments of free time we have each day are spent zoning in front of the tv or soaking in the quiet after the kids go to bed.  Yet, how many of us go to bed tired and empty? 

My friends think I am obsessed with coffee.  I am not really.  To me coffee is a way for me to slow down and savor the moment.  I love getting a coffee when I grocery shop and run errands (I mean it's just too easy with Starbucks inside of Target, right?).  A friend was telling me about how she loves to drink her coffee in the morning when she gets to work.  She sits down, holding her coffee in her hands and takes a moment to breathe before starting her work day.  There is comfort in a cup of coffee (or tea). 

Another friend was going through a time where she needed to make more connections with other women, not just at church.  We were at the same Bible Study table and I was feeling the same way.  We started meeting once a month for coffee and we've been doing it for 2 years now.  We made it work with our schedules to sneak out after the kids are in bed and meet at the same Starbucks each time.  There are days when I think to myself, I could cancel and go to bed early because I am so tired, but we meet and instantly feel refreshed (and not a caffeinated energy, but that feeling of my cup being filled).  The conversation and encouragement that comes from slowing down and enjoying conversation that is deep and full of laughter and sometimes tears is so beautiful.

There is something wonderful about slowing down, enjoying a cup of your favorite drink (or even a bowl of ice cream).  There is something even more wonderful, when you combine that with friends and good conversation.  I remember when I asked some mom's from school if they would want to go out to dinner one night and have a girls' Night.  I wrestled back and forth. . . and I finally decided the worst they could do say was no.  But, guess what!  They didn't.  They wanted to go out to dinner with friends just as much as I did.  It's totally worth the risk to ask someone. 

 Do you feel lonely?  Or like something is missing from your life?  Do you need a friend? Do you need a break from your everyday tasks?  Take a risk and ask someone to meet at your local coffee shop and have some coffee.  Or invite someone over for a cup of coffee with some yummy creamer and put on a movie for your kids, while you sit and chat. 

Also. . . if you don't like coffee, please subsitute the word ice cream, boba, juice, tea, pastries, cake, cookies, fish tacos. . . the possibilities are endless! 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Pinterest Summer: Sharpie Shirts

 I feel kind of like I blinked and summer was over.  Here I am typing my last activity for our Pinterest Summer Series and my kids are at school doing their thing (and hopefully not melting. . . it's going to be 110 degrees today!).  I hope you all had a fantastic summer and got to do some fun things with your family. 

One of the last week's of our vacation we tried out the sharpie tie dye shirts.  I had seen this idea before school got out and knew we were going to do this. This was a project I was super excited about all summer long, but it took until the last week of vacation to actually get it done.  It was also really easy.  Like SUPER-DUPER easy!  Also, don't let the Tie Dye in the name scare you away. . . there's no crazy messes with this one!  Also, the white shirts. . . super cheap!

So, let's get started!  All you need is a white shirt, some sharpies, a piece of cardboard (we used plastic box lids with a target bag over the top), and a spray bottle with some hydrogen peroxide in it.

First of all, Hobby Lobby is your friend.  They have shirts from 0 months all the way up to at least a XL, maybe bigger.  They are regularly less than 3 dollars.  That makes this project so cheap!

Next you need to put a piece of cardboard between the layers of the shirt.  That way it won't bleed through.  If you are like me and the trash had already been taken out and so that Prime Pantry box was already gone (they are huge!) and so you have to get creative, think plastic tub lids with Target bags over them (so the lids don't get destroyed).

And then, let the kids go at it with sharpies.  Lines, dots, you name it they can do it! 

Then, when they are all done coloring and designing their shirts, give them the spray bottle and let them spray.  I recommend doing this away from any painted furniture. . . we may have taken some paint off one of my metal patio chairs. . . OOPS!.  As they spray, the ink from the sharpie will start spreading. . . like tie die. 

And, ta-da!  They love the way they came out!  Weston made a crazy monster and Ethan played with different designs to see how they would spread.  They ended up loving them!

Wondering how to keep them all pretty?  Soak the shirts for 30-60 minutes in a bowl of white vinegar and then wash them in the washer.  This will set the color.  Ours faded a little bit, but they still look great! 

We had so much fun doing this one and it was a great way to wrap up our summer! 

If you are just joining us, check out our summer Pin Challenge:

Rock Painting

T-Shirt Bags

Solar S'mores


Directed Drawing

Pool Noodle Fun

Did you try any pins out this summer?  Post a picture to Instagram and use the hashtag below to share what you did.  I would love to see them!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Solar Eclipse Fun

 I always forget how exhausting the first week of school is.  Our bodies are just not used to getting up and going all day compared to the relaxing days of summer.  Anyone else out there celebrating that they survived the first week?  I'm pooped.

Anywho, on Friday, I posted a tutorial in my instagram story on how to make an eclipse viewer for Monday.  The whole plan was to make these with Ethan's class and go out and watch it through a viewer thingy that my friend's dad has.  It was going to be this super fun 2 class activity with the third graders.  Everyone was so excited. . . until after school on Friday, when we discovered our district was putting kids on lock down during the eclipse hours.  Super sad face here because it was going to be so much fun and what better way to get kids excited about space.  Now, we are just taking our kids out of school so they can watch it with the viewer, special glasses, and make their own pin hole viewer. 

Ethan is super into science this year and is so excited about the eclipse.  It's kind of a fun, out of the ordinary, day that we plan on having fun with. 

Here's the super easy pin hole viewer tutorial.  If you don't want to cover it with wax paper, you can skip the last step and have them stand backwards with the cup over their head, pinhole facing the sun.  Have them stand facing a garage or fence and they will see the image on the surface they are facing. You can also use card stock, if you aren't using a cup and wax paper.  There are tons of options. 

For this particular viewer, you will need:

1 paper cup
wax paper
rubber band

 To start, turn the cup upside down so the bottom is facing you.  Stick the pin into the cup and poke it through. . . try to keep it somewhere around the center.

 Then, without crinkling your wax paper, lay it over the mouth of the cup and slip the rubber band around it.  This part is completely optional.  The image of the sun will be inverted through the pin and onto the wax paper.  So, you won't be looking at the sun, but at the wax paper.  If you are concerned about your child's eyes with even that, just omit the wax paper step or use a piece of cardstock, stick a hole in it, and hold it up above their heads with the pinhole facing the sun and their bodies facing the opposite direction.  Then see it on the garage door or fence or driveway.  It's pretty cool! 
This is just an easy way to help make the eclipse viewing fun for your family. 

If you are curious about whether or not it really is safe for your kids to view the eclipse, I recommend this post.

There are some really cool facts about the solar eclipse on this website

Check your local news stations for when the eclipse is happening in your town.  We are a little over 700 miles from the total eclipse line, so we only get the partial.  It will still be super cool!

Also. . . what ever you do, don't try to take a picture with your phone or camera of the eclipse. . . leave that for the professionals. . . it will hurt your camera. 

Have fun! 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Back to School Time

My kids went back to school this week and I am pooped!  No more staying up super late and sleeping in <insert super sad mommy face here>.   I don't know about you, but first week of school is exhausting for everybody.  I'm finally getting my cup of coffee in at 4pm as I type this.   Readjusting to our school schedule is hard on everyone.  Weston fell asleep yesterday after school. . . it's effecting even my early riser (it was the sweetest thing)!

Whether or not you've started school or are still on summer vacation mode, I thought I would put together a post of some of my favorite back to school posts about things that have helped us keep our sanity and have fun with the school year.

Helpful Tips from last year:
I wrote this post last year and still love everything about it.  These were last year's Before School Lists and although I made new ones for this year, they are pretty much the same.  This helps so much with making them responsible for getting ready in the mornings.  It's not always perfect, they still have their slow moving mornings every now and then, but this keeps us going and helps us get out the door.  It also helps me be able to get myself ready. . . that is big (I am NOT a morning person!).

There are also tips about homework on this post which are kind of fun!  Go check it out here.

Spoil your child's teacher (They love it!)
Here's the link to this free printable and the directions on how to make it look like you took a bite out of a cookie.  SO much fun and the teachers feel so loved!  We do this every year and it's always a hit!

I also have a post here that explains why I do the whole cookie thing.
Lunchtime Inspiration
Making sure your kids eat a healthy, balanced lunch is a bit intimidating.  Here's a post I wrote about how we pack lunches and some ideas to get you started.

There is also another post here.

 Getting back into a routine once school starts is welcome adjustment.  We love our lazy, adventurous days of summer.  But, it was time to go back to school.  This year, I have a third grader and a first grader and I am thinking that it is going to be my busiest year yet.  I'm excited.  

I hope you all have a wonderful start back to school and let me know if you are exhausted, too.  I'd like to know I'm not the only one (ha ha!)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Pinterest Summer: Rocks

 I don't know about you, but you can't go far on social media without hearing about the crazy rock craze happening now.  But, seriously, it is sooo much fun!  It has been on our bucket list this summer and we just got started last week!  A sweet friend of mine invited the kids and I over for some rock painting and let's just say that we are hooked!  This is definitely going to be an activity that continues through the school year. . . even my husband got involved! 

 This activity is super simple.  Paint some rocks, let them dry (of course!), and then go hide them and post them to your local Facebook page.  Then, check your Facebook page for any others that you can go hunting for.  Once, you find some new ones, rehide and post and keep on going.  Just be prepared to want to paint all the time!  I can't seem to stop!  

 Here are some helpful tips that we have learned so far:
:: Put your FB group on the bottom of the rock, so the finder can post that it was found and if they re-hide it.

:: Use a sealer like modge podge, a spray like this one, or clear finger nail polish. This just helps protect your hard work and your kids masterpieces from the elements.

:: Kids Tattoos are super fun to rub on after paint has dried and before you seal it.  If using temporary tattoos, you definitely want to seal it.

:: Have friends over and paint!  My friend and I were talking about how much fun it would be to get together with some of our mom friends and paint rocks and drink wine.  This activity is not just for the kiddos!

:: Involve the whole family.  We all had fun doing this as an activity last weekend and my husband really had fun painting.

:: We used acrylic paint.  My favorite is the Martha Stewart Brand or the Hand Made Modern (Target).  But, you can find other brands at that are less than a dollar at Michael's and Walmart!

:: There are so many different ideas on Pinterest. . . You should search them and have fun!  I want to try one with nail polish!

:: You can find rocks in your back yard or buy some at Lowes or Home Depot for about $12.

:: Don't hide them in the National Parks. . . they don't like it.  They will be considered litter and thrown away.  Also, don't take rocks from National Parks. . . probably not a great idea. . .and I think it's illegal.

 The whole point of painting these rocks and hiding them is to have some fun and spread kindness.  The other night, when the weather was not squelching, we walked to the kids' school and hid some rocks around the front area.  Some friends of ours found one of them and posted it, while a couple of the others were found my a new student, that wasn't sure about the transition to a new school and a new state.  After their tour, he found the rocks and it just made his day!  That story just warmed my heart and made me want to make more!  The boys have so much fun hiding them and finding them! 

If you are local to the Central Valley. . there are rock groups of Facebook for Fresno Rocks, Clovis Rocks, and 559 Rocks.   I think there are a lot of them out there with the name of your town and the word ROCKS.  Check it out!

Have fun! 

Saturday, August 05, 2017

A Pinterst Summer: T-shirt Bags

Confession:  I have the hardest time blogging in the summer errr . . . anytime the kids are home.

It's true.  I also am not accomplishing anything on MY summer to-do list.  That probably sounds so selfish of me.  But, it's true.  I had big plans to finish some things, catch up on some things, and start a few things.  Oh, at the beginning of the summer, my hopes were high.

Obviously, that didn't happen.  And, you know what? It's not really a bad thing.  I have spent some wonderful time with my boys, gone on an amazing adventure, swam, made Popsicles,  read some books, and consumed crazy amounts of coffee.  I wouldn't trade any of it for a thing.  I am actually kind of sad that the summer will be ending soon.  I really enjoy the slower pace that summer brings (minus triple digit temps, summer is wonderful!).

In one week, these boys head back to school as third and first graders.  Soccer will start and our life will soon become busier.  So, I have embraced our summer.  I may only be blogging our Pinterest Summer Challenge this summer, but it has inspired us in so many ways!  I can't wait to share what else we have done as the summer continues (just because the kids are back in school, doesn't mean the posts will end. . . I plan on posting through the end of the month!).

So, today, I have hidden myself in my messy office that has been taken over by summer fun, and school supplies and am sitting here drinking my coffee and writing about a new Pinterst Challenge Activity.  This one, has been on our list for awhile.  I have been hoarding some old t-shirts of Jon's and the kids thought it was way cool to take scissors to daddy's shirts!

This week's Summer Pinterest Challenge is T-shirt bags.  You can find so many tutorials on the world wide web for this activity. There are even videos that come across your Facebook feed every now and then for t-shirt bags!  This was a fun activity, but we learned a few things as went.  So, here's our experience.
We followed the directions and trimmed our shirts by cutting off the sleeves, neck, and hem line on the bottom.  Then, we flipped it inside out and cut slits a few inches up on the bottom.  Easy Peasy.
From there, we started to tie the slits in knots.  We started this project in the afternoon one day, and within 5 minutes of knotting, both boys were done.  I realized that this project would be better in the morning when these early birds are at their best.  So, we stopped for the day and tried again the next morning.  Much better!
We looked at several different blog post tutorials to find out the best method, and most were the same.  But, we went with the ones that had us do two rows of knots.  We liked the extra security that came with the more knots.  

Ethan did a great job with this one but Weston, who hasn't quite mastered the art of tying his shoes had a really hard time doing the knots, so I ended up doing his for him.  So, this project is probably better for your older kids. . . not the littlest ones. 
Ta-da.  T-shirt bags!  Aren't they the coolest! 

 Weston loves his Batman bag!  We thought that these would be great library book bags, but when I put books in them, they hung funny and heavy.  They were also awkward to carry with a bunch of picture books inside.

We didn't want them to go to waste, so we experimented on ways we could use these bags and found they were perfect for summer gear!  They look great with a beach towel, sun screen, beach toys, etc.  I definitely think these will be used for water fun days for the rest of the summer!

This was a really fun activity that doesn't take a lot of supplies and a great way to recycle an old shirt.  It was definitely more suited for your older kids. . . I would say 8 and up.  Weston loves his bag, but I basically did it all, he sat and watched.  

What are you working on this week?

Also, have you made a bag or done your own Pinterest challenge?  Post to instagram and use the hashtag. . .


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