Category Archives: Parenting

A Happy Mother’s Day…

I hope all the moms out there had a great Mother’s Day; I sure did.  After working in the working world for a week, and trying hard to get that new routine nailed down, I got to spend Sunday relaxing.  I even had time over the weekend to do a blog project with Son.

We began with some coloring pages Son brought home from school, and since he had done such a nice job, and they were flowers, I thought they would make great Mother’s Day gifts for his grandmothers.  I asked Son to cut out his pictures, and then I broke out my cutting tools, and a cutting mat.  The only problem I had, was that I didn’t have any nice paper to mount his pictures onto.  So I recycled…

That’s right, I used some old shopping bags from Ann Taylor Loft.  The paper the bag was made of, was thick, and textured.  The only issue was the word LOFT written across it.  So I worked everything so that the drawings covered the logo.  I used a glue stick to glue the pictures to the paper, and then cut the paper to fit into an 8×10 frame.

Lastly, I asked Son what he loved about each grandmother, wrote it on the paper, and had him write his name, and the last word of each paragraph.

First, the one he did for my mother…

And the one for my Mother In Law…

Obviously, the way to a man’s heart truly is through his belly, even when he’s just a four year old boy.

I hope the grandmothers like the gifts.  They still haven’t received them…


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Filed under DIY, Fun and Free Ideas, Parenting, Save my Wallet, Save the Earth

One Last Stand….

As I mentioned in this post, I have given up on growing a garden.  They never seem to grow very well in my yard, whether it be because of my soil, or my thumb.  The only problem with that, is that I  really want to be able to grow my own food.  I love the idea of organic produce, but it’s so expensive!  I also love how home grown produce tastes, especially with tomatoes.  So as a last chance effort, I decided to try one more time.  But I didn’t plant a garden.  Instead, I picked up two tomato plants, some potting soil, and decided to plant my new greenery into pots.

Of course, I got Son to help me.  We put our two pots into the wagon, so that they’d be easier to manage, and filled them with some new dirt.

We then dug holes into the middle of our dirt-filled pots, to prepare them for the new tomato plants.  While I was at a farmer’s market last summer, a tomato farmer told me to always cut the lower limbs from new tomato plants, and then bury them.  He said this would create a better root system, and thus better tomatoes.  So I carefully supervised, while Son sliced of each lower branch with a pocket knife.

And as you can see in the photo above, I also typically remove most of the biodegradable pots that the plants come in.  I’ve discovered with my last two gardens, that the pots don’t degrade so well in my yard, so I remove what I can.

After we had the plants trimmed, we placed in their respective holes.

Then, it was time to surround them with new dirt.

The final step was to water each new plant, and for that, Son broke out his watering can…

Hopefully, these tomato plants will actually grow, and give me some juicy, tangy tomatoes.  The packaging said they were “Patio” tomatoes, and perfect for containers.  We’ll see.  My non-green fingers are crossed!


Filed under DIY, Gardening, Parenting

Dyeing For Easter…

It’s somewhat of a tradition to dye eggs for Easter.  We always did it when I was growing up, and this year, I decided it was finally time to share the fun with Son.  Since I’m a DIYer, I decided I’d come up with my own way of dyeing eggs, that, and I forgot to purchase a kit.

Obviously, the first thing you need to do is boil your eggs.  I don’t know how it happened, but I am a master egg-boiler.  Seriously.  I never have any grey on my yolks, and Son loves to eat the hard-boiled eggs plain.  So I must be awesome.

To get perfectly hard-boiled eggs, you need eggs, and a pot with a lid.  Begin by placing your eggs into your pot; I chose to do six this time.

Then fill the pot with enough water to just cover the eggs.  The more water, the longer it will take to boil.

Place the pot onto the stove, uncovered, and turn the heat on high.  Bring water to a boil, and allow it to stay there for ONE minute.

After one minute has passed, remove pot from heat, and cover.  Allow to stand for 10 – 12 minutes.

I like my eggs with a darker yellow center, so I only let mine sit for 10 minutes.  If you want them lighter yellow, but still without the grey, go for longer, but no more than 12 minutes.  Then simply drain off the water, and run cool water over your eggs.  This is where I would normally peel them, but since I wanted to dye these for Easter, I didn’t do any peeling.

To dye your own Easter Eggs, without the kit, you will need the following…

  • A bowl of hard-boiled eggs
  • Something to protect your surface
  • Vinegar
  • Food coloring
  • Enough containers for each color
  • Something to fish your eggs out with
  • Some white crayons
  • A happy, helpful kid

Fill your vessels with vinegar so that the eggs will be covered when submerged.  Then, drop food coloring into each until you have it as dark as you’d like.

Your dye vats should look like this when you’re through…

Of course, that is assuming you used Red, Yellow, Blue, and Green.

To dye your eggs, just dip them into the vinegar.

You can use the crayon to draw designs on your eggs, and the area will remain white when the egg is dyed.  The longer you let an egg sit in the dye, the brighter the color will be.  Allow the eggs to dry before hunting them.

Can you tell which ones I did?

So just in case you forgot that Easter is in TWO DAYS, and you have yet to buy your egg dyeing kit, or if you’re just too cheap to buy a kit, you now have the power to make your own.  And of course, you will also have perfectly boiled eggs for your future salads.   Yum.

Happy Easter!


Filed under Cooking, DIY, Fun and Free Ideas, Parenting, Save my Wallet, Save the Earth

Get Yer Gun…

While I was out in the garage, working on my home made picture frame project, Son decided he had to build something too.  As a parent, and a teacher, I am a huge advocate for teaching your children at home by allowing them to teach themselves.  By this I mean, you give them the tools, and minimal guidance, to figure things out on their own.  This day was no different.

Son came up with all sorts of ideas of what he wanted to build.  Seriously, a house?!  Come on kid, I’m glad you’re thinking big, but we just don’t have that amount of wood in the scrap bin.  I decided to send him for his sketchbook and a pencil, and have him draw up what he wanted to build.  I told him that this was called a Plan, and that everything that gets built starts with a plan.  So off he ran…

When he was through, he had drawn a gun.  He’s a boy, after all, so I just smiled.  And then I helped Son get the wood.

We laid out our pieces much like a puzzle, until we had the rough shape of a riffle.  Hey, I’m Texan, I’m OK with guns, but I’m no gangster, so I try to limit our arsenal to shot guns.  Even though I understand that my logic is flawed, I figure you can hunt with a riffle, not hold up a liquor store.  Yes.  I know it is completely illogical.  You may shake your head at me.  But back to the story.  We made our shape…

Then, I traced the butt of our BB gun to get the right shape.

Since two of the boards needed curved cuts, I did the sawing with our band saw.

But the barrel of the gun was a simple straight cut, and even though I helped, I left most of the work up to Son.

We used simple nails and a hammer to put the pieces together.  I helped Son line the boards up in the vice, and then helped him hammer in the nails.

And yes, he was beyond excited that his ears are finally big enough to hold a pencil.  It’s the little things!

Once the gun was fully assembled, I handed Son a sander, and told him to get busy.  After a few minutes, though, he got bored, and gave up.  Even in it’s rough shape, he still loves it.

Even better, will be the pictures I can get when he wears his coonskin cap.  Son likes Davy Crockett, and I can only imagine how awesome having a riffle to hunt bears, and maybe wabbits, will be… even if it’s not properly sanded….


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Filed under DIY, Fun and Free Ideas, Parenting, Toys