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):

Ebay 2014 629

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

Ebay 2014 628 copy

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;)):

Ebay 2014 659

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!!!!

Teacher gift workshop.

I saw this block calendar project on another site and was smitten , that’s a great winter time word isn’t it. My mind instantly thought “we can do that”.
So we set to work, I  even asked the amazing man at Home Depot to cut a 4 x 4 post into squares for me…. There are about 30 in a post. THANK YOU!!

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I have tons of paper scrapbook supplies from when I had time to encapsule photographic memories and notations on expensive paper to archive into even more expensive “books”, and a jar of modge podge. So we set to work:

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Finished late on the last night before the last day of school for 2013. I hope her teacher likes it. Because we do.

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These photos are from my phone and may not be the best, but I am thinking we will make this project again very soon and I will post a tutorial with some better photos and instructions.  The kids really liked making this.

 

Wee hours card making..

Last night I stayed up until today working on our holiday/Christmas/keeping up with the Jones’ card. Which for the life of me I cannot figure out how to share here….seems like I should be able to do so easily but NO. So you will have to wait until I get a hard copy in the mail and I will promptly share.
I do enjoy making these and sharing our cute little selves with friends and family, but it seems like so many cards come with beautiful faces in matchy outfits and perfectly edited digital pics, I know we all want to look amazing, I know I do, which I think is why it seems a lot of cards just have the kids photos and everyone’s name. C’mon people love yourself enough to make it onto the card, we want to see you.
Speaking if touché, you may remember last year when I posted about how adventurous it was to get the right photo…I sent a card with only kids and everyone’s name. 2012 Holiday card
SO this year, with our lives being so hectic I just plugged in 2 photos from earlier in the year and added them to a beautiful snapfish template, one of the kids, and one of all of us. I had visions of us dressing up goofy with goofy glasses and ‘staches with a caption like “We seriously hope you have a merry…happy…”, I came close, but it is never quite what my mind dreams up…work with me people!! Anyway  I chose a cardstock paper and it allowed me to put a photo on each side and even had a little space to write a little family update. Again are these letters taboo? I feel like I have read so much satire about how these holiday letters have become inflated ego boosters for the writer, but nonetheless I shared highlights of accomplishments and activities. When we went to bed last night I was joking with Jon that next year we should dodge all normalcy and sent a lowlights list: child one is beyond sassy, the dinner dished sit in the sink overnight 75% of the time, neither of us have worked out since Thanksgiving…you now the REAL deal.

I am eager to share the card when it comes, but in the meantime, tell mw what you send in the mail, photos, cards, nothing?  Do you enjoy getting cards and letters about others lives?  I know we do, so keep sending and writing!!

A Nook that does not hold books and some that do.

I know that not everyone is on Pinterest and maybe you are and don’t “get” the big deal, but for me when it comes to projects and inspiration I am like a crack Oreo addict to that site.

We have a number of closets in our home, I am sure most of you do….but it seems like wherever the builder of this house had extra space he added a door and some shelving.  Great right…well some of these spaces are awkward and honestly putting a door in some places just seems to take up more space than you are saving.

My point?  I have 2 closet spaces that I am thinking would be great turned into more of a nook space:

1. One of the closets in our sons room.

2. The entryway closet.

What does this have to do with pinterest?

I have been pinning “nook” like spaces for at least a year…here are some of my tops for our sons room:

Traditional Home Design Ideas, Pictures, Remodel and Decor

houzz.com

His “nook” will definitely hold books and also serve as a desk space.

closet nook: compact, organized, completely cute, and the perfect use of space!

readingglssesshopper.com

Love the hanging organization in this desk nook.

closet made into kid's reading room

littlehellraiser.com

This is amazing and would have been perfect for my not-so-little-anymore bookworm, but now that he is in middle school he needs a desk space.

Desk

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Last but not least, I love the clean lines of this  and the shelving for books.

For the entryway I need a place that has bins and  shelves but also still has hanger potential,  without detracting from what might work for others if we sold the house. This has to be a nook without books.  I have some ideas how this will work in our space, and here are some photos that I am drawing ideas from:

Hall Closet turned mini mud closet

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Love this with the bench and hooks, plus those baskets for mittens or hats or shoes, but there are 6 of us and that might not cut it in MN winters.

Front closet turned mudroom. The shoe rack is brilliant!

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hello storage!!!

Hallway closet nook

Last one, again love the bench hooks and storage underneath.

Anyone else turned a closet into a nook space and LOVE it?

I am hoping to share some exciting changes around here soon!

No Tricks all Treats

By far the best Halloween costumes we have had so far in all 11 years of child raising.

Every year we ask the kids what they would like to be for Halloween, it usually starts with the delivery of the Chasing fireflies Halloween costume edition and from then on at story time we are leafing through the mag hearing about all the options and how we could all go as pirates, or momma you could be this and poppa could be that….or I bet Farley would be a cute yoda.

Now if you get this magazine like me you probably wonder how these prices are legal, I mean don’t get me wrong they are cute as can be and resale (for an eBay lover like me) is totally worth it, but I Like the kids to put more into the costumes than pointing a finger and saying “that one”.

So he is what the final choice was for everyone:

Solomon: scary clown.

Raiven : exterminator (bugs, and such)

Santanna: Viking princess warrior conquerer (not a football Viking)

Avalon: Pocahontas

As we wrap up the Halloween weekend I thought I would share their costume since I was literally still sewing  a few parts on them as the sun was going down and porch lights were turning on Thursday, I will be happy to go tinot maore detail on any of the parts if any one is interested.

Solomon…no real inspiration photo just what /he/we came up with:

scary clown

We thrifted the green coveralls from Savers , they are a size 44 Long…..huge on this guy, so we cut the bottoms of the legs off.  I found the Leroy patch in the sewing box I shared a while back, the mask we found at savers as well, shoes are from goodwill and glow in the dark (he did not trick or treat in these) flower that squirts water we found at party city.

scary clown 2

How many 9-year-old girls wanted to be an exterminator this year?  1?….mine?  We looked at the Ghostbusters costume and that was NOT it, so here is our version of an exterminator:

2013 October 891 copy

Hand held “fogger”  I am not sure what it is called but I found it in the garage and it fit in the clear tube that I had attached to her “chemicals” on her back pack.

exterminator 1

The clothes are her brothers that were too small, and we patched the hole with more goodies from this sewing treasure box I found. The boots were also a hand me down.  the hat is just a ball cap with skull duct taped on over the words, we did this on the hoodie as well.

2013 October 883 copy

We took 2-2 liter bottles and Raiven mixed and swirled paint in them to make her desired color, then I attached them to a small, purse size backpack with more of that skull duct tape.  We found the mask at a local Halloween shop.

Santanna: this is the costume she wanted:

Halloween 2013 warrior girl costume - Chasing Fireflies

Chasing Fireflies

Here is what we created:

Viking Princess

Santanna LOVED it, and it was really warm.  Head to toe, Viking helmet is from party city, so are the leg cuffs, we cut them off a little since they were meant for adults, so we sued a scrap as hair under the helmet also meant for adults…perfect! she has on a gray tiered dress from The children’s Place that was handed down from big sis, brown leggings, Primigi boots and a long sleeve layer shirt.  The sword was also from party city.  Instead of a shield she had her trick or treat bag in her other hand.  I sewed the cape, and added a hood.

Viking warrior 2

She picked out the fabric and had to have some color so we added this little blue streak in the hood. Jon called her Helga and others commented that she looked like a character from how to train your dragon.

Last but not least, Pocahontas, Avalon is probably her biggest (smallest) fan:

Pocahontas

This is a very warm fleece costume and headpiece from Old navy that was sold about 7 years ago, I have found it on eBay for a few years in a row and bought the 5T this year, once she outgrows this I am not sure what we will do, Disney does not make a winter version of Pocahontas dress up, which is a must in MN. Boots are Minnetonka triple fringe boots, we had tights and the bow (with missing arrow) was from a local Halloween store.  The belt was a fifty cent thrift years ago.

Those are the spookables I went trick or treating with this year. You can pin these as ideas for next year