Sunday Funday

Sunday was Rally Day at church, my Mom and Grandma were in town, Beth came over for a bit and we spent $24 on two ropes and then tied a few knots.

We have never officially become members of the church we have been going to for the past year. Rally Day for our church is the last week of summer time services and the kick off to Sunday school. I made it a point that we would be there for Rally Day so we could get the kids involved and sign them up for Sunday School. It was a great service and afterward they had face painting, cotton candy and bouncy houses for the kids. Needless to say, it was a fun morning and I appreciate that my Mom and Grandma graciously told us to go even though they were in town and we should have been hanging out with them.

Usually our weekends are packed with to-do lists and errands. This weekend still had a few to-dos to get done like taking down the pool and the usual around the house weekend chores, but the chore load was lighter and the pool didn’t take long to put away so there was time left over to play!

I stupidly didn’t take any photos when we went out to eat or showed off our renovated kitchen and basement to my Mom and Grandma because I was just having too much fun visiting with them and laughing at Elise with them. Elise really wants to be a cowgirl right now and she will sacrifice her toes in order to dress like one. Two Christmases ago my Grandma bought the kids cowboy boots. Elise’s are a size 9. We just bought her new tennis shoes for school and they are a size 13. In her efforts to be a cowgirl Elise shoves her feet into her size 9 cowboy boots and says they fit fine “if I curl my toes!” Uffda. We all giggled along with her as she talked about horses and clomped around in her too small boots.

After my mom and Grandma left, Tim and I took down the pool for the season, and if you are keeping track this is the 3rd summer we have used our Intex $200 pool. Best money spent ever. We have never had problems with it molding or cracking during winter because we put it away dry and store it above the garage. If you are on the fence about buying one of these pools, all I can say is that it is worth it. (more pics from the first time we set up the pool in 2012)

When the pool was put away TIm and I were taking stock of our backyard and admiring our hard work over the years. It has come a long way since we moved in when there was a bull-dozed 1 foot cliff in our yard with subsequent 4 foot high mound of dirt that was buried under snow when we bought the house. (more pics of backyard from when we first moved in)

We were talking about how great our maple tree was doing, after limbing it up last year and taking away the planting bed underneath it, when one of us said, “we need a swing under there.” The other suggested a rope swing and then I grabbed my wallet and headed to Menards. An hour and $24 later Tim was climbing up our maple and knotting ropes.  Tim took a scrap of lumber and drilled a hole in the middle to make a seat/stand on one of the ropes, the other rope is officially the Jungle Man rope.

I didn’t use my camera all day and I didn’t really even think of my camera until Tim brought it out to me while the kids were playing on the new rope swings. He handed it over with a smile and stated, “Your not doing your job.” and I happily took the camera and started snapping. Sometimes it is nice to just live the day and not take photos, but most of the time I love stepping back and capturing the moment with my camera. Sunday was a good day because I got to do both.

For the record she ate cotton candy at 10 am Sunday morning and it was still on her face at 4pm that afternoon. Parenting fail? or Sunday Funday win?

And my two Jungle Boys.

The ropes were a hit. Yesterday morning before school they were playing on the ropes and it was also the first thing they did when they got home from school. This morning was the same thing. They ate breakfast, brushed their teeth, way faster than the dentist recommended 2 minutes, and then headed out to the ropes.

The ropes are great for Michael. They are an OT/SPD miracle. Michael gets to swing, which is great for Vestibular input  (balance, inner ear, knowing where your body is), Proprioceptive (Heavy work that improves attention and calms and focuses the nervous system — this is also why Michael needs to chew on things when trying to sit still)

Sometime OT isn’t very fun, like when I have him carry full laundry baskets up and down stairs for me, but sometimes OT is lots of fun.

And sometimes he doesn’t even know he is doing OT, but as he has gotten older he has learned and come to understand that his body works a bit different. He recognized right away that “These rope swings are great heavy work and the swinging calms me down!” I am so proud.

With all the kids in school now I have more free time to get house work done during the week. I hope this translates to more Sunday Fundays because everyone needs a few more fundays a week where we set aside the never-ending to-do list and say the house is good enough for now, errands can wait until tomorrow and I will finish that project later.

And I will leave you with this quick video of Michael getting some much-needed movement after school yesterday.

 

Elise’s First Day of Preschool

Alternate title: Meg is 36 pounds lighter

Alternate title: Last First Day of Preschool

Miss Elise is at school. Last year when she started Preschool she was a sweet and shy 3-year-old who was hiding behind my legs. She would only peek out from behind my legs for a moment and even then, it was just a quick glance at the teacher. All the kids overwhelmed her. I guess that’s what happens when you have a Stay-At-Home-Mom and you are naturally a bit shy. The boys never had that problem. They saw a group of kids and beelined toward them. Elise loved meeting one new friend at a park, but a pack of kids was a bit much for her.

That was last year though. This year was a whole different story. She was up at the crack of dawn and ready to meet, “ALL OF MY NEW FRIENDS!”

She walked into that preschool room like she owned it (and since this is our 5th consecutive year of having a kid in that Preschool I feel like we have probably paid for at least a few square feet of the brightly colored, carpeted room).

Elise is my shadow. All summer long she has been at my side. It is sweet, I cherish the time where she looks up at me with udder awe and believes that I am the best thing ever. I love her so much but let me tell you what, when I walked away from that preschool this morning and could hear Elise telling her teachers and new friends everything she had done this past summer, I didn’t shed a single tear. I feel lighter, stronger faster. I feel like I lost 36 pounds and I did. I am 36 pounds of wiggly, noisy, sticky, horse loving little girl lighter. unfortunately the scale doesn’t say my body has lost 36 pounds but I feel it so that is what counts.

The best part of all of this is that Elise is just as happy as I am.

This is our family’s Last First Day of Preschool Ever.

 

Boys First Day of School 2014

First Grade and Second Grade. Uffda. Where did my toddlers go? Were they not just sitting on plastic potty chairs in the living room in front of Thomas the Train?!

 

Last night when we were out buying tennis shoes for the boys and I asked the boys what they were most excited about for school the next day.

Patrick replied, “To meet all my new friends!”

Michael stated with a smile and not an ounce of sarcasm, “Math. Second graders get to learn multiplication and division!”

 

 

I love my boys. They couldn’t be more different except for their love of outer space. Tim has done a thorough job of making sure they are fascinated with all things science, especially space. Just look at those career choices…

Patrick wants to be a “Black Hole Scientist”

 

Michael still is holding strong with his goals of being a Meteorologist.

I am so proud of my boys. They have come so far and they love school.

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Starred Photos31

They wanted to walk to school by themselves. I said that today I would walk with them all the way. They could have walked by themselves, but there are only so many first day of schools left before they won’t even want to be seen with me, let alone walk with me. Today’s walk to school with the boys was for me.

 

 

I am excited for the boys. I think this will be a great year.

DIY Doll Tent

Let me preface this post with this; going into most DIY projects I think “This shouldn’t be too hard” and then it ends up being a beast that I can not conquer and it sits 90% finished in our office/craft room closet for years. With this DIY Doll House Tent I went into the project not expecting great results but promising myself that I would finish it because it was July 26th and Elise’s birthday was July 28th and I refused to pay $85 on an American Girl Doll Tent that had previously been listed at $35. I was surprised how quickly it all went together.

DollTent

So yes, this one time I would say that this DIY project is easier to make than it looks. So go for it!

Supplies needed:

  • Fabric for base. 20″x20″(I used duck cloth. It is cheap and sturdy and cleanable)
  • fabric for tent pole loops: I used the same as the base so I just bought extra of the base fabric. 1 yard is enough for the base and the loops.
  • Tent fabric: 2.5 yards There will be extra but you will need this much if you have a patterned fabric and want the pattern to go all the same direction. I had a solid fabric so I used a little less yardage. I also used duck cloth for the tent walls for the same reasons as above.
  • contrasting fabric for window curtains: 1/4 yard
  • ribbon: I spool of gross grain ribbon was enough
  • tent poles: 3/8 pex tubing found in plumbing department
  • tulle for window screens: 1/4 yard of sturdiest tulle you can find
  • tacky glue
  • sport/coat zipper 14 inch
  • thread
  • sewing machine

 

First I cut the base. I wanted it big enough for two dolls and for any future AG dolls. Right now Elise has a set of the BItty Twins which are 15 inches tall but the bigger dolls are 18 inches tall so the base of the tent is cut to a 20 inch square. That gave me a 1/2 inch all the way around for seam allowance and room for error. I figured a 20 inch tent would be big enough for the taller dolls and their sleeping bags.

I designed this tent so that there were two windows on opposite sides, the door had a 14 inch zipper and the wall opposite of the door was solid. I felt like one wall needed to be solid in order to keep the tent more sturdy.

It wasn’t until the entire tent was sewn together that Tim pointed out that the zipper was in upside down. Because of that I will skip any photo pics of how I put it together because I did it wrong, you don’t want to mimic me doing it wrong!

Back to the tutorial. Your tent poles need to go somewhere and even though it would have been easiest to just sew a long hem along the inside of the tent to snake the poles through (think curtain rod but on inside of tent) I opted for tent pole tabs so it looked more like a real pop up tent and to give the tent poles a little more room to flex.

And this is where my photo taking stopped. I know. I suck. I was running out of time and everything was going easier than planned and I just got excited and forgot to take photos of every step. I will do my best to describe what I did to finish off the tent with a few photos I have.

I made 4 more tabs but this time I sewed them so they would be the “pocket” that the end of the tent poles would sit in.

Next is sewing the four walls together. Pin your pole tabs evenly spaced along the edges of the tent walls. Pin you bottom pole pocket in place. Sew together. This will be used as the top tie support. Do this for every wall taking care to piece the walls together in the correct order so you don’t have two windows walls bordering each other. Ripping seams out is my least favorite thing. It completely derails all momentum and makes me want to quit and abandon my projects.

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Note: on one of the seams you need to pin a piece of ribbon folded in half to the peak of the tent. This will be used as the top tie support. (finished tie on top)

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When all four walls are sewn together you can then sew the base to the walls.

Start about 6 to 7 inches from the zipper and work your way around all three walls and then finish by only sewing 3 to 4 inches on the other side of the zipper. You need room for the zipper door flaps to open but you also need to secure the wall in place.

*note: If i were to do this again I would have hemmed the front of the base piece of the tent so there wasn’t a raw edge at the zipper opening. I will have to sneak the tent away from Elise now and do something to stop the fraying.

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As recommended by another DIY doll tent maker I bought this for the poles.

I did not have good luck. It stood but didn’t hold it shape well at all. It barely stood up to the cat so I knew it wouldn’t hold up to our 4-year-old camping with her dolls.

I went back to Menards, this time with Tim and we picked up two 5′ Pex tubing. We used the 3/8 inch and it works great!

Feed the tent poles through the tabs and trim to the correct length.

I wrapped my tent poles in a fun duct tape to cover up the terracotta color. It took 2 roles of that duct tape to wrap the poles.

Tim feeding the new taped up poles through the pole tabs.

Tie the top ribbon in place and you have a tent!

With any luck, you’ll have a tent and a very happy kiddo. The boys love the tent just as much as Elise!

Sleeping bag tutorial coming soon.

More photos of the process here.