It was a busy week with the boys home sick from school sick most of it! Both boys got bad colds, Ethan’s was much worse but Ben had a bad ear infection too. Somehow the girls both stayed healthy though! I tried to keep them quiet so they could rest but Ethan got super Halloween crafty and (with a just a little help from Jamie and Ben) he filled the living room with a ton of bats and one spider. He made everyone in our immediate family and then branched out to add the extended family. I LOVE them and wish I got better pictures but I just had the little camera out at the time. They really look neat in person (and I’ll be sorry when I need to take them down for Christmas decorating in Dec). I love how he used deep yellow and red paper instead of black. I also love it that he thought the whole idea up himself and I could just sit back and watch the production of a huge colony of bats (yes I had to look up what a “flock” of bats is called since I didn’t think flock was right)!
Well I am all for a candy free-for-all BUT a little healthy mixed in on Easter is a good thing too! This morning after the excitement of the baskets and the egg hunting and the cinnamon rolls, we made some applesauce bunnies. This is a nice last minute activity that we did thanks to Musselmans. The kids colored the ears and bow ties and I taped them onto our heart cupcake cups and filled with applesauce (Musselman’s suggested doing 1/2 applesauce and 1/2 yogurt but I went for all apple this time). Some of the kids jelly beans and mini marshmallows for the face and they were all set to go. It is a gorgeous Easter day so the kids ate their bunnies in their playfort.
We got a few more inches of nice wet snow so we finally set out to build a snow man in our yard. I felt inspired to try building a snow troll or goblin creature. Building the 2 legs was fun and easier than I thought. Since we had 2 legs that meant we need a snow butt.
I wimped out on the arms and just made them crossed and attached to his body. For the head I started with a rough shape, a big nose, simple eyes and started adding horns. As the horns grew they started looking like ears…and oddly familiar. I added 2 buck teeth and then I knew who it was. Look familiar to you?
Here he is completely assembled.
Know who it is yet?
When Ethan came home from school on Thursday we noticed that the snow John had shot onto the house with the snowblower could come off and had a great imprint of the bricks. He took a bunch down and set it up to be a castle. He pretended to hide but I knew the silly kid was finally ready for some pictures! Of course he is always a monkey so the afternoon wasn’t complete without hanging from the tree.
Did you know jello jigglers also double as refrigerator magnets! This was Jamie’s doing. I wish she coudn’t open the fridge! I’ve written about Jamie and the fridge before but she also is into the freezer looking for “pops” all the time now. I tried putting the lock thats on the door in this picture up but all it took was one yank and one of us broke it.
I almost forgot to post today for the Unplugged Project and when I saw her post I decided to copy her fairy garden idea a bit instead of just writing about our garden. My boys are not really the fairy type but they have recently been watching the Smurfs so I got out my old Smurf figures and we made a Smurf garden. When I was a kid my friend and I used to play outside with our Smurfs and make things out of twigs and rocks for them. Today we planted some mint I was rooting, the grass head Ben had grown at school and some tiny daisy plants I was planning on potting. The boys were busy on the porch for a long time and made pebble paths and then got a planter of marigolds to expand into. Our regular garden isn’t so exciting (not yet anyway since we have nothing to pick from it this early). We planted some sunflowers, squash, cilantro, gourds, carrots, radishes, cucumbers and tomatoes. I don’t know if we will get all those things though, things seem to be growing slowly but hopefully I am wrong. Its a weedy garden this summer, I didn’t add all of my leaf mulch since I started so many seeds and that let the weeds sprout too (I think next summer I’ll do things differently). I’ll post more once we start picking. Below the boys are protecting the garden from Henrietta (she likes to dig in it for bugs but she digs up plants too).
The boys play so nicely together (about 1/2 the time anyway) and they even include Jamie when she isn’t messing their stuff up! I love how we’ve been rotating toys all the time because they will entertain themselves for such a long time when we get out something that has been away. The bristle blocks actually come out fairly regularly, but even having them put away for a few days renews their interest. Here the bristle blocks have been turned into race cars for the Star Wars guys.
I think they have been inspired by the Mario Kart Wii game that they play with John most nights before bed! Here they have Jamie’s dolls and a gorilla racing in shoe cars!
Ethan and Ben are on such a Star Wars kick. Here is Ethan’s latest creation, his stuffed animals dressed as all the Star Wars characters.
Darth Vader is my favorite. He’s wearing the lacrosse pads with the red tea cup helmet and red spoon lightsaber. The other critters wearing cups are all Stormtroopers. Luke is the cat with the green lightsaber. Chewie is the monkey with the rubber band across his chest. The fox is Obi Wan and the cat is Princess Leiah.
|This week The Unplugged Project is Wood and it was the perfect time for John to build some bird houses with the boys (I tried to convince him to build me a chicken coop for the chicks I’m ordering tomorrow but I have a feeling he’ll get moving on that once the birds are living in our house). He got a good birdhouse book, Birdhouses You Can Build In A Day, with plans to make a bunch of different types and this weekend they started off with Chickadee houses. Each boy made his own and they are up on the trees waiting for inhabitants. John used wood that was from an old storage shelf in our basement and he has enough left for a lot more houses. I can’t claim any involvement, I slept through the entire project (more on that another day)!|
|John’s Comments – I use an old pine shelf that was roughly 12″ x 48″. I figured out the best way to cut the wood and managed to get enough pieces for both bird houses out of the 1 shelf with very little scrap leftover. I decided to use my new cordless circular saw to get some experience with it (worked well!) but it would have been much easier with a table saw. I used my miter saw to cut my 4″ strips to the right length. Holes were done with a bench drill press (just so the boys could help). The instructions were to use a nail gun, but instead I predrilled holes and used galvanized nails. In the end I basically made the pieces just like a Lowes or Home Depot project, but with better wood and some glue thrown in to hold everything together. I have enough wood leftover from those old shelves for easily another dozen bird houses. Next project I plan on drilling my pilot holes a little larger to make it easier for the boys to hammer the nails in.|
|If you want to try a birdhouse yourself, look for 4″ wide pine or cedar at Lowes. All the pieces in this project were 4″ wide and cut to length. I used power equipment, but it could easily be cut with a hand saw. If Lowes doesn’t have wood the right width, get a larger piece and ask them to cut it for you – it’s free!|
A couple weeks ago I mentioned how I had rediscovered Junkyard Wars and started watching it with the boys. This weekend while I was doing something for work on my laptop the boys were getting a little bored so I started issuing Junkyard Wars challenges for them to build with their legos and then bring to show me. They had a lot of fun with this new game and I loved seeing their creations.