It snowed this past weekend and while there wasn't enough snow to call for a snowday, even if there had been school this week, it was still the first real snow of the season - and my oldest loves loves loves to wear his boots so he was extra happy. The younger ones are just as happy to stay in warm living room with me and drink hot cocoa. They also love projects and this one was so simple, I loved it too.
My first grader came home with it from art class the other day, and the concept is quite smart and at the same time, easy enough for six year old fingers to handle. Younger kids shouldn't have too much trouble either.
I love simple and easy, especially simple and easy made with things we already have around the house.
The kids started with large pieces of black construction paper. They each used white chalk to draw a snowman or winter scene on a regular sized piece of blue construction paper; I'm guessing blue because the sky is blue. The blue sheet was glued onto the black sheet, slightly off center. Then a 3/4" inch strip was cut from one long side and one short side of the black construction paper and crisscrossed on top of the blue paper to form a window pane. Staples and or glue were used to put it all together.
Looked at from afar, it really looks like you are looking out of a window and seeing a snowman. Very cool.
Have you ever played The Veggie Stick Game? We play it all the time.
But first, do you know what Veggie Sticks are? Technically they're called Veggie Straws, but for some reason we call them sticks, not sure why. Anyway, these Veggie Straws are, according to the Sensible Portions website, "a light and airy treat built for the seasoned snacker". Really, they're yummy and crunchy little sticks that dissolve in your mouth in such a way that I was comfortable giving them to the kids when they were really little, like less than a year old. They also come in three flavors, all mixed in one bag - potato, spinach and tomato. Don't get too excited, a bag of these will not bring you anywhere close to being able to check off a daily serving of vegetables but they're a good little snack and the kids all like them.
Like I said before, they come in three colors or flavors, all in one bag - yellow, green and orange.
The rules of the game:
1. Close your eyes and open your mouth. (Not necessarily something I advocate but you're hopefully playing this game with loved ones, so I think you're okay here.)
2. Have another player put a Veggie Straw in your mouth.
3. Chew and swallow.
4. Guess the flavor Veggie Straw that you just ate.
Can't do it? Me either. I have never once guessed right. But the rest of the family - the kids and Josh - plus all the friends we've played this with all guess correctly. Apparently there is a distinct flavor between all the different straws. For me, not so much. They all taste exactly the same. But everyone else loves the game.
You can play this the next time you don't feel like standing up and walking over to the game closet to get the Candyland for another rousing round of "you cheated, you picked two cards! No, it's not your turn, it's mine!". Sometimes, putting food in the kids' mouths is a much easier idea.
As part of my Happiness Project, I have been trying to break down big goals (declutter house) into teeny tiny little goals (clean out a drawer). And so far it seems to be working. The high I got from cleaning out these two kitchen drawers was well, pretty high, I must say. I immediately felt calmer when I was done, and every time I need to get something from either of these drawers, I smile. And I use these drawers all the time. You see, these two drawers are also known as the junk drawers in the kitchen. You know you have one, it's okay. We all do. I just had two.
I knew they were a mess but I let them be until one afternoon. I had just closed one drawer when I heard a huge crash of what sounded like pots and pans and breakable Pyrex dishes. I couldn't understand what had happened, there were no pots and pans in my little overstuffed drawer. I opened the cabinets beneath my overstuffed drawers and there it was. The contents of my overstuffed drawer had overflowed its boundaries and had poured out into the cabinet below. My slamming the drawer seems to have caused an avalanche of stuff, which in turn caused the drawer stuff to topple over an entire shelf of pots and pans. And time for a mini-goal it was.
This is what my drawers looked like before.
I purged, I sorted, I put things where they actually belonged. Then I tried out every pen in the drawer to see if it actually worked.
Then I put back each item that was allowed to live in these drawers. I feel like I need to hit The Container Store for some drawer dividing items. Well, not really The Container Store, but some cheaper priced store that sells the same items.
Here are my after-drawers.
This took fifteen minutes of my time. Imagine. And it used to take me at least five minutes to find something specific in these drawers. Oh Happiness Project, I'm so happy already!
It's not totally done, but it's done enough to share.
The walls are painted.
The carpet tiles are down.
The furniture has been moved into the for-now places.
And we even took a trip? adventure? to Ikea on Friday to pick up a storage unit for the toys. Bought and built in an afternoon. Amazing.
Here are some pictures. I will add some more as more work/decorating is done.
As a reminder, here is a before picture of my basement. Pure wasted space.
Bear in mind that we still have some lighting issues down there and so the quality of pictures leave something to be desired, but here's an after:
And because I know there are some people keeping count, my total expenditure so far for the basement has been $431.
Primer/paint and brushes and stuff: $61
Carpet tiles: $294 (99cents a square foot. You can't really beat that.)
Toy storage: $76 (The unit with the bins above and a toy box.)
Pillow: $0 (my dad bought it for me, but it was really on sale in Bed Bath and Beyond for only $10!)
My time spent: about 14 hours so far, spread out over about 2 weeks, maybe a little less.
If we had hired someone to do the painting and carpet tiles, this would have already run us a minimum of $1000 before materials. All I can say right now is go me!
I've been working on the basement these past few days so I haven't been
here. But then I just had to share last night's dinner. I don't know why I never
thought of this before. And all four kids ate it. Miracles do come true.
This is the last thing I'd ever thought my kids would eat, possibly because
it grosses me out. Hot Tuna. With an emphasis on both t's and you'll
understand. Or maybe not, maybe you love Hot Tuna. But it doesn't do a thing for
me. For my kids though, these Tuna Melts are heaven. And also, the easiest
Lay out two slices of bread - preferably on a paper towel - so you don't
have to dirty an extra plate. Put some tuna fish (already drained, mashed and
mixed with a little mayo or whatever you mix into your tuna) on each slice of
bread. Top each piece with a slice of yellow American cheese (please don't judge
me). You can also use whatever cheese you like, I won't tell. Place the bread in
the toaster oven (or in the oven if you are making many sandwiches) and toast
until the cheese just melts. Remove from the toaster oven and turn one piece of
bread over onto the other, making a sandwich, or as my 5 year old explained,
make it so it's bread, tuna, cheese, cheese, tuna and bread. No
Serve on paper towels or on a plate, depending on your mood. I did plates
last night but only because there were already other dishes to wash.
Happy Easy Supper!
The past couple of days were biggies in a world where basements morph into
Tuesday morning I cleaned the floor, scrubbed like I've never done before.
If nothing else, it was a calorie burner.
And yesterday morning was the whole point of everything I've done so far; I
The baby and I went to Home Depot on Tuesday afternoon to buy some no VOC
and odorless paint. Home Depot didn't have any, they just don't carry any paint
that is not-bad for the environment. No really, that's what the guy in the paint
department told me.
Me: Do you have no-VOC paint?
Paint Guy: Nope, we don't carry that good-for-you-stuff.
Me: Okay then.
At least he had the decency to not point out that I had a granola
bar stuck to my skirt as I paraded around the store.
So then off to Lowe's we went. And Lowe's carries a huge assortment of
those good-for-you paints. After much deliberation (me) and ripping of those
little and thankfully free paint cards (baby), we chose a color. It looked like
a light green to me, the kitchen area in the basement has some green in it so in
theory it should all blend together.
Wednesday was painting day and a totally spontaneous one at that. I had
been planning to paint at night after the kids were in bed, but some days you
just have it all together, you know? So when the baby went down for her nap, I
ran down to the basement and painted for an hour straight. And when I looked up
after those 60 minutes (I knew it was an hour because I had thrown a load into
the dryer and set the timer. I am nothing if not a multi-tasker), I was done.
All the walls were now green. When wet they kind of looked like a pukey green
and I was kind of nauseous myself. But now that's it's dry, it looks much
better, more like a seafoam green or pistachio. I am not sure I would pick this
color again for anything, ever, but it's fine for this project.
And the baby cooperated too. She woke up as soon as I finished washing the
And then last night Josh was kind enough to move all the furniture that had
been sitting in the center of the room so we'd (I'd) be ready to go when the
carpet tiles came. I really had no idea where he was going to put everything,
especially the couch. This is what he did:
I have no clue how he got it up there or how he will get it down. But that's his
project. I have enough projects of my own right now.
Today my helper and I went down to clean up a little more.
Is my Happiness Project working? I think so. I am definitely happy that I
am done painting. Let's see how happy I am when the carpet comes.
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)