Water Bottles

Look Ma No Hands!

It is possible that this only happens to me:

Scene: park/ballgame/day camp/pool/beach/hiking trail/race/friends house/front yard/kitchen….you know only a few times has this happened…..one of my children….all of whom I love and I am sure have asked this equally, has a very nice cold sweaty water bottle, and they very nicely ask “momma can you hole this?”…me (=sucker): sure.  Guess who ends up holding 4 water bottles like Alice the camel…she now has 4 humps.

OR

Scene: 2 minutes before we HAVE to leave for a ballgame/birthday party/day camp/play date/appointment….one of my children….all of whom I love….is digging in the drawer that could be named plastic pit of despair for a water bottle AND matching top and looks up and says “Momma can you help me make a water bottle?”  Me: Sure.  Of course it is important to stay hydrated, that is why we have 26 water bottles and 24 tops….its like the hydration jigsaw puzzle…takes patience and time.

We have as many water bottles that we have gotten from fundraisers and races and camps as we have reusable shopping bags.  Both we have been politely refusing for awhile now, we just do not need anymore and I can’t be alone in wondering how helpful these are to the earth in the reducing part of the 3 R’s when they are being mass produced for so many events.

Back to my point.

I have a water bottle, it is a Klean Kanteen, I LOVE it, and it has a sling, I can wear it….no hands!

So this year for each child and the hubby I ordered a Klean Kanteen water bottle and sling, it is now the ONLY water bottle they have….big responsibility, however as I write this, no one has lots any parts at all, and the pit of plastic despair is packed up to be donated.

These were their end of school/welcome to summer gifts and they were all really excited to have a bottle like mine…Yeah!

I had to tie Avalons’ straps up a little, but her and hubby both modeled them:

Water BottleWater Bottle

I bought all of the kids the 27 ounce size, and Jon and I have the 40 oz. size.

Long ago, I bought a handful of peel and stick patches from Old Navy for 97 cents a piece, I just LOVE when I find things at this price point, does any one else find these great deals? I have found less of these deals lately.

Anyway, they fit perfectly onto the canteen “sling”!!  I wasn’t sure about the pink skull/poison looking patch, but maybe no one will want to take it?!?

Ebay 2014 25931 copy

Patches from Old Navy

Viola! reusable, wearable, carryable, hands free and cute, I still need a patch for Solomon, I think he will find one on our road trip this summer.!!  And  for Jon and I, should have a patch too tight ?!? Maybe I should put a camel on mine..no wait I am no longer the water bottle camel!

Custom patched water bottle slings.

This post was not sponsored.

SOLD!

That lovely hard to find Palomino pop up camper that I longed to have, we sold it down the road.

My camper/camping needs have evolved into something beyond my initial firm stance that camping should be done only in a tent, should be rustic, one with the Earth.  Although I still values these ideals behind our camping adventures, we have upgraded from tent, to pop-up camper, to a new to us “tin can” style camper (more on that later).

The initial purpose of trading the tent in for a camper was to get us off the ground and provide a little more safety from “wild” animals. (more on the reasons and original purchase here).

We did a little work on our Palomino, the water tank had not been properly winterized and so there was a spot where the tank burst, because these tanks are aluminum it was a little more of a challenge to find someone who could weld it for us.  Thankfully my uncle knew someone welded it for free!!!  Thank you!!!

Second, the water tank storage tank  had also not been properly treated so we had to clean that to remove mold and build up, mostly Clorox lots of water and patience.

So all in all we were not out much, and enjoyed 3 camping trips in this pop-up another bonus was that we were able to store it in the 3rd stall of our garage during the winter

It sold in less than a week after listing it on Craigslist.

I am so excited about our new camper and will post photos soon, but here are the last photos I took after some of the minor work we did on  the 1995 Palomino Hard Side pop up camper that a wonderful family of 7 is now hopefully enjoying!!!

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Lasts and Firsts 2014

I wrote about lasts and firsts in a post last year, and was looking back and reread my words and was inspired to write about this year’s lasts and first.  Reading what I wrote reminded me of things I had not thought about in a long time, small details that I am glad to have written, so I am writing one for this year, if for no one else, for me;)

Last morning of school for the 3 bigs today, Avalon has been out since before Memorial Day.

This was Avalon’s LAST year of preschool , after 9 years of being connected to an amazing preschool with teachers that became family we are done…..this was a HARD morning, but I can write about it now, so it too shall pass, my small little people growing like trees into beautiful strong beings. She is already begging me to teach her Kindergarten.

It seems like ages ago I took their FIRST day of school pictures, which I never posted…oh well;)

Total they lost 6 six teeth, had 5  haircuts, we packed hundreds of lunches and snacks, had one case of strep and 2 ear infections, 2 times someone missed the bus, 2 new sets of glasses and Raiven is set for braces in August.

Solomon survived his FIRST year of middle school, which for us is 6th grade.  I love his school, his test scores and exceedingly high so he qualified for the highly gifted program (only 18 kids in his year qualify in the district) at a small choice middle school, it is truly what he has needed since kindergarten, to be in a class with his peers.  This was a decision we did not make lightly but are very happy with so far.

Santanna’s First grade teacher taught her FIRST First grade class this year, Mrs. A was actually Solomon’s 2nd grade teacher so we were super excited to have her, she is amazingly patient and organized, I need some of her skills!!!

Raiven had the same 4th grade teacher that Solomon had and this is his LAST year of teaching 4th grade for 3 years.  he has taken a position as a student teacher assessor, I am hoping he is back to teach 5th grade for Santanna, there is a rumor he will come back and teach 5th grade but year by year I am learning that until that first day of school nothing is set in stone. Right?!?

In a few hours it will be the start of The FIRST day of summer vacation…

Did a little photo shoot after they all were home:

Last day of School!

They just REALLY Love this jumping thing when I ask for a photo….here is some good news, stats are up from Last June:

from 75% to 100% excited about summer!

If you remember:

Last day of shool 2013

Have some fun this summer!!!!!

 

Finally Outside

It was warm enough outside today to finally get out and enjoy spring.
I went out for a 4 mile run and came back to find Avalon hard at work:

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So I joined in and we vacuumed, wiped down, washed and cleaned out an enormous embarrassing amount off snacks and miscellaneous kid paraphernalia. But to the small vaccumer go the spoils:

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Just enough to pay in coin for an ice cream:

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While I splurged and treated the carro to an ultimate wash :

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Oh man does spring cleaning feel good here in Minnesota. We have been cooped up and frozen in and are ready to be outside and open the windows!!
Anyone else tackling spring projects. Any annual chores you do?
I know my blogging has been sparse but we have been working hard on a front entry nook project that is almost finished. Stay tuned for the before and afters!!

Borrowed Literature

 

 

Often on Facebook I see posts asking for a book recommendations. Truthfully I am not usually one that has time for books with much substance i.e.; politics, dry facts etc. so I hasten to recommend any of the recent Barnes and Noble nook book of the day deals I may have recently indulged in. Life is so busy and chaotic some days that I really enjoy a book that is entertaining and light to take my mind of life.  On more than one occasion I have borrowed a book from our son who is the epitome of book worm. The boy devours books at all levels.
His highly gifted language arts class is following the Iditarod race currently being run in Alaska and his teacher assigned the book Winterdance by Gary Paulsen to the class complete with an email to patents regarding some of the language.
Intrigued I picked the book up and likewise devoured it. This book is brilliantly written completely eye opening to a lifestyle I had no knowledge of and a race I truly knew nothing about, and the chapter “Major Wrecks” had me laughing out loud while the kids slept. As a marathon runner there were parts of the book I could relate to, I completely understand a mentally and physically grueling accomplishment that can be related to childbirth, you easily forget how hard it was and are ready to do it again. However, I am still in awe of this man’s journey and all other mushers that even considering attempting this race.

I was surprised by the relationship between the dogs and mushers, the totally trust and respect but that these were not lap dogs, these are not social dogs that romp in the dog park and play fetch with their human family.
Truly emotional and written by a fellow Minnesotan!!! From my sons 6th grade class and I this is a must read!

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Snow My Goodness!!!

I love snowboarding.
I love watching my kids enjoy a day of skiing.
I love making forts…with or with out my kids.
I enjoy snowblowing…weird I guess, add to that vacuuming and mowing, and you could charge me for a visit.
I really like making snowmen, hot cocoa and vanilla steamers for pink checked freckle faced little mes.
I do not like -40 with/without wind-chill.
I do not like that it feels like we have been on Holiday since winter break, the kids are always home.
No complaints, but is it not lending to much productivity.
We are working on the front closet nook that I blogged about sometime before winter set in.
I actually think I will be able to give an update as to our progess thus far in the next couple days. Until then I really like snacks, shelters, and smiles:
Snowsota
I love how this picture makes snow look so beautiful, even though it is breaking the limbs off our birch tree out front.
I love how every pink face in this photo is smiling back and having a blast!
Snow on Mother Nature, you are beautiful and powerful and we are respect that.

Shreddin’

Really it could go either way….slopes or crafting right??!
We are actually doing quite a bit of both around here. It is cooold still and school continues to be cancelled on random weekdays due to the cold, we were off yesterday and today for temps that were in the -30′s with the wind-chill! Luckliy every Friday the mercury climbs up to perfect temps for hitting the slopes, in MN we have great hills no actual mountains, but we don’t mind!
So we are bumming and skiing/snowboarding, it is polar (ha ha) opposite of the California version of boarding and bumming since we aren’t getting tan, but I could not have planned it better myself.
Mostly we are spending times off the slopes inside, so I am trying to keep a balance between reading, eating, bickering, and screen time…not all that easy!
Here is the project we did yesterday, inspired by this pin on pinterest.

This seemed like the perfect cold day craft….we have cardboard boxes and magazines laying around so we set to work.

I was not sure that I would be able to free hand draw a large shape that would resemble anything better than an amoeba, so I got our the overhead projector that comes in handy at the most wonderfully random times, I posted about it before here!

The kids got out their large bin of “figurines and animals” and chose the one that they wanted.  It worked best to lay the object on its side, and then we adjusted the projection to fit on the cardboard which was propped against the wall and then the kids traced the shape onto the cardboard in pencil.

Overhead scrapping

At first we were going to just rip the paper or cut it into thin strips, however with small hands it was looking chunky and not as uniform as we wanted.

So we employed the help of a paper shredder (which only momma was in charge of!), we borrowed from a kind neighbor, and shredded up old magazine pages.

The kids spent truly spent 2-3 hours gluing down the strips onto their shape…I mean quiet craft time is like silent gold am I right?!?!

At some point we ditched the white glue bottle and got out modge podge which is why some spots on the finished project are shiny…I would recommend this, it seemed to secure the paper better, and not leaves any loose spots that may tear off.

Ta da!

A Goat (by our 11 year old, completely independently):

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An elephant ( by our 9 year old again independently) I just love the hair-do:

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A panda bear (by our 6 year old, mostly independently, she needed a little help gluing and staying on task at one point, but you can see she came back with vengeance and a black crayon for the background):

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And who else? Pocahontas (by our 4 year old, she may have had some momma help;)):

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Really an easy craft with what materials most of us have around the house, if you do not have a projector you can certainly free hand a shape, I am sure most of you out there have better art skills than I!

And just one more…proof that the sun does shine on MN hills!

A bombski

Storing Little Ornaments

Have you seen the Shining, with Jack Nicholas, when the family gets snowed into the hotel in Colorado and all go stir crazy??? Well we are not quite to crazy yet, but let me tell you we are shut in and staying, if you have not heard on the news, Facebook, or from friends and family Minnesota is in an “arctic vortex” or “arctic hurricane”. Today without the wind-chill we are sitting at a steamy 1 above zero, yesterday it was -45 with the wind-chill. The kids are home from school and we are staying put!
We are cooking and crafting and putting away all the last straggling items from Christmas and New Years Eve.
We have quite an eclectic collection of ornaments from over the years, honestly I am not sure where they all have come from, some were thrifted for projects that became leftovers, some were gifts and some just given to us, regardless we have boxes to put away each year.
I had pinned an idea about plastic cups glued to cardboard for safe and neat ornament storage which is perhaps some of the inspiration for this idea.
Super simple and maybe it has been done before, but I decided to reuse our egg containers, with 6 of us we go through a lot of eggs each week with breakfasts and snacks, so I had a few cartons laying around waiting to be recycled.
Here is what I did:

Egg carton ornament storage @patchworkreality

They fit perfectly, although we are avid recyclers, reusing is almost always better:

Egg carton ornament storage @patchworkreality

How happy does that little snowman look?  See you next year little dude!

Welcoming in a frozen 2014

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No better way to remind yourself of how beautiful life is than a quiet run in the arctic Minnesota cold. Loosing feeling in your behind makes it feel like a x 4 calorie burn until the feeling comes back an hour later.
Here’s to everyone having a fantastic ’14!!!!