Friday, June 24, 2011

what do you love about summer?

Summer-time crafting is much more difficult.  With my two older kids at home, it becomes harder to occupy all my troublemakers at the same time so that I can sew something.  Plus, it's finally getting warm enough to swim, hike, etc, so we've been away from home a lot more.

I have finished painting the new bedroom in the unfinished portion of our house that we've been working on, and carpeting should be next, after which I'll post some "after" photos.

For now, I'm going to show to some of the things I love about summer and having the kids home:

French toast for breakfast:
I realize french toast can be made during the school year, but with me as their mother, my kids don't stand a chance.  I don't make my kids a hot breakfast as often as I should, and when I do, it's not served before 9 am.  So, now that school is out, hot breakfast happens more often.

The oldest and the youngest troublemakers sharing story time in the morning:
He even helps Graham with the "touching" part of the touch-and-feel books! (gushing)

Pedicures with friends:
This was actually my very first pedicure in all of my 29 years.  After we all got our pedicures, we wanted to take a picture of our cute toes, so we went to a store with cute shoes and "tried on" a pair for the picture.  Notice how all of our feet are tied together with the security tags?  It was quite a feat to get all of us that close together while our ankles were tied up!!

Summer-time fruit:
I love that fresh fruit is all over the place during the summer, and snack time becomes infinitely easier!  (Notice the hand in his pocket?  This is a new discovery for Zoram, and I think it's just adorable!!)

Catching bugs:
The world is so exciting in the summer time with all the extra life outside.

Bare baby feet:
Need I say more?

Taking turns on the swings:
Less than two years apart, troublemakers 3 & 4 don't always get along.  It's very sweet to see them taking turns and pushing each other on the swing set.

At less than a nickel each, how much better does it get than a cold snack on the back porch?

What are some of your favorite things about summer?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

free father's day gift

Last year, I wanted to play around in Window's Movie Maker to make my husband a cute little video as an "extra" Father's Day gift.  The video turned out to be his favorite Father's Day gift, ever.

Because he loved it so much, I've made him another one this year, which turned out equally as sweet.  I thought I would share with you how I did it, if you would like to make one of your own.  (I'm not going to get very technical, but Movie Maker is fairly easy to use, and I would be more than happy to answer any questions e-mailed to me--if I know the answer, that is.) 

At the end of the post, I've included last year's video as an example.  {Please excuse the horrible video quality!}

The first thing I did was to come up with a list of questions to ask our kids.  Include things like, "What is Daddy's name?  Age?  Where does he work?  His favorite color?  Occupation?"  Older children could be asked to share a favorite story, or quality about dad.

I asked all the kids the same questions, including the kiddos that can't talk yet and recorded their answers responses.  Smiles, cooing, or even a sleeping baby are still sweet to watch, even if they can't answer vocally.

**Tip:  When recording the interviews, try to leave a few seconds buffer before and after their responses so that it is easier to edit down to just them talking.**

After recording all your interviews, use Movie Maker to "split" your videos into clips with just their responses to each question.  I then organized mine so that a question was posed, and then each child's response plays, and then the next question, and so on.

Because no one likes to hear themselves talk, I used title pages to ask the questions in the final product. 

At the end of the interviews, compile a series of photos of Dad just being him.  Both videos I've done, I've used pictures only from the past year, but you could use pictures from the first baby's pregnancy and forward, if you want a more comprehensive video.

While the photos are playing, it's nice to have something to listen to, so pick a song that means something to Dad and add that to the video.  Last year I chose 1,2,3,4 by Plain White T's.  Once the song is in the video, spend some time lengthening or shortening the amount of time each photo is displayed so that the song and the pictures end at the same time.

After the interviews and the photos, I like to put a final message using title page(s) and the end credits.

Finally, feel free to play around with the transitions and slide effects.  You can make your photos ripple, pan across them, etc.  When you have the video the way you want it, save it in a file that Dad won't look at until Father's Day, and wait to surprise him!

**One final tip:  Save, and save often!  These videos can be a lot of work, so you don't want to lose any of that time**

Here is the video I made last year.  I'm going truly embarrass my husband and report that he cried real tears while watching this.  Then, I posted it on our family blog, and my mom cried real tears too.  My kids sure do love their "Papi," and the seven years he has been such have been very rewarding.  It's nice to be able to look back at all the times we've had together.

For a free gift, it doesn't get any better!

Linked to:

A Little Knick Knack

Monday, June 6, 2011

make-your-own-costume kid craft

Today is trouble-maker #2's birthday.  He's 6, and he decided he wanted to have a costume party.

So we sent out the invites:
When each kid got there, besides the traditional party games, present opening, and cake & ice cream, we had a craft set up (the brain work behind which was mostly my husband's.)

We told each of the kids they could use whatever they wanted from the table to make themselves a *new* costume, and at the end of the time limit, Xavier, the birthday boy, picked the winner.  (He, of course, went the political route and declared them all the winners.)  :)

The items on the craft table included a 10" x 90" strip of fabric for each child, paper plates, regular printer paper, card stock paper, neon pipe cleaners, foam star stickers, yarn, ribbon, penne pasta, crayons, colored pencils, markers, glue, tape, hole punch, stapler, and scissors.

Here is what they came up with:  (sorry about the stars over some of their faces, but not all these little sweeties are mine, so you understand.)

A starry-eyed cowboy.
This little guy made a myriad of accessories, including a gun and a map.
A shield and a whip.
This is an owl with wings.
A necklace with "princess wings."
Even my husband got in on the fun with his goofy ears and funky nose.
the birthday boy!!

In my unbiased opinion, I think Xavier's was the best of them all!  Happy Birthday, buddy!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

end of school

I'm sure those of you with school-ages children are feeling the same way I am about this time of year.  Nostalgic, proud, and excited for the lazy days of summer.

We have a first grader and a kindergartner, and over the last few days, we attended each of their end-of-year productions.  Samuel's first grade music program was Thursday night, and Xavier's kindergarten graduation yesterday morning.  In looking at the pictures, I saw things about my kids that frustrate me at times, but today it made me laugh!

First is Samuel.  Samuel was blessed with my mother-in-law's smile.  He has a wide, pretty-lipped smile that makes me jealous much of the time.  Unfortunately, he is 7 years old, and smiles like this when I hold up the camera:

He tucks his lips in and it becomes a very forced excuse for a smile.  Hopefully he'll grow out of it, but someday I'm going to look back and be glad I have this picture to remind me of his "quirk."

Then there is Xavier.  When I sent him to get dressed this morning, I reminded him that this was his last day of school (and his graduation program,) and to try to look nice.  Let's look at what he picked, shall we?

Shorts and a t-shirt.  Not even a button-up or polo shirt, but a t-shirt.  And look where he is:

On the front row.

See the kids around him?


Mine was that kid that people look at and either decided we were dirt poor, or that we didn't care enough about our kid to make him look nice.  Xavier thought he looked nice, though, so that's all that matters.

Anyone else have a humorous experience at "graduation?"  I'd love to hear about it!  And yes, I'm shamelessly fishing for comments.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

ruffle skirt

I wanted to make a cute skirt for myself, but didn't want to spend a lot of time.  So, I cut out a simple skirt from MADE, but before sewing it together, I did a little embellishing with some ruffles.

4 rows of them to be exact.
For anyone interested in ruffles, mine are 1 inch wide.  I cut them twice as wide as the skirt, and then gathered to the same width as the skirt using a long stitch running down the center of each strip.

I think it's cute, and I might make another one out of something a little lighter weight!