School Projects

Fun Projects

Monday, November 21, 2011

An Annual Tradition

In Wisconsin, the entire fall season (and perhaps the entire year) revolves around one thing: the Gun-Deer Season. For the month of the November the only color the "in" crowd will wear is blaze orange and the "must-have" accessory is a rifle slung across your shoulder. The closest thing to a religious experience that most Wisconsinites have is sitting in their deer blinds as the sun comes up on "Opening Day."

Sadly, all is not happiness and joy during hunting season. There are those who cannot participate in the joys of searching for the BIG ONE through the rain drops or snow flakes and the sub-freezing temperatures of deer season. After all, someone has to stay home and protect the future generation of hunters. These poor martyrs are known far and wide as Hunting Widows. These suffering saints have found many ways to bring a little joy to their period of mourning. In my family, we join together (since misery loves company) and have brunch. I should have taken a picture of the food, but that would just tempt some of the weaker among the hunting brotherhood to abandon their quest and give in to the call of their stomachs.\

After we martyrs have found our solace in food and hot, caffeinated drink, we often move on to other worthy endeavors. Last year, we made parachutes which a missionary used to drop radios and gospel literature to isolated people groups in Central America. In other years, we have filled shoe boxes with gifts for Operation Christmas Child. This year, we made scarves from t-shirts. I found the idea via my newest addiction: Pinterest.

Using only scissors and muscles (and in one version fabric glue) we were able to make no-sew scarves in about ten minutes. Now that is what I call an awesome project!

Our little helpers - too small to join the hunting games outside - got their own versions of the scarves, cut from the unused sleeves of the t-shirts.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Operation Christmas Child

Around the Kolste house, the first official "Act of Christmas" is to assemble our shoe boxes full of gifts for Operation Christmas Child. A ministry of Samaritan's Purse, Operation Christmas Child sends the message of Jesus Christ - along with shoe boxes full of gifts - to children in need all around the world. I really appreciate being able to start the Christmas season off by GIVING rather then GETTING.

As the kids get older, their involvement in this project has increased. This year they wandered through the store choosing items to put in box. I'm sure the other patrons of the store got some chuckles as I fielded questions about what we were doing.

"Some children don't get Christmas? Why don't they just do it?"

"Do children need screwdrivers?"

"Can we keep this candy and send the children these instead? (breath mints)"

"How do the children find the boxes?"

We also got to talk about Christmas on a deeper level: why did Jesus come in the first place? That's the ultimate project right there: sharing the message of Jesus, from His birth to His death and then His resurrection with my kids.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Oh What a Lovely Day

Do you ever look back on a week (or several weeks) and think "Wow, we were WAY too busy? We need some downtime!" I had this epiphany last Friday night. There had been just a little too much coming and going, a little too much running around, a little much too much. It's my own fault, really, since I inherited my father's inability to sit down. But, every once it in awhile, it catch up to me, and Friday was that time. Thankfully, Saturday was an unusual day - there was nothing on the calendar! I decided to keep it that way: the kids and I wouldn't do anything we didn't want to do (sadly, poor Aaron couldn't join in the fun).

As you might guess, when I asked the kids "What would you like to do today?" Only one word came out of their mouths: "PAINT!!"

They did agree to try a new technique. I watered down a TINY (emphasis on TINY) amount of acrylic paint and then put drips on their papers. They used straws to blow the dots of paint around. Brynn struggled a bit with this, but we only ended up with one mouthful of paint and no new wall decorations, so overall I'd say it was a success.

Since this was Fun Day, I had to try it out too. After painting, the kids moved on to messing up the house, and I moved on to baking. Pumpkin Scones to be exact. I had to modify the recipe a bit, to fit my current diet, but they turned out pretty yummy.

The weather on Fun Day was beautiful, so we all spent the afternoon outside. I got half the yard raked and most of those leaves burned. Trust me, I actually enjoy raking leaves and burning them, so it still fit in to the "nothing we don't want to do" rule of the day.

When evening finally settled on the day, we all declared it a smashing success, and I promised myself we would do it again soon. I'll have to put it on my to-do list.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Birthday Kids

Well, the birthday hoopla is over (although the kids might still be recovering). It's taken me a while to blog about it because of camera issues, but if you have been waiting impatiently, here are the cakes.

Ian got a gun (Yes, I KNOW the trigger is backwards).

Brynn got a dancing princess.

After the big family party on Sunday, I didn't want Brynn's ACTUAL birthday on Monday to be forgotten. It meant I was working up until the last minute to finish her birthday present. What was it you ask? What else? A dancing princess dress.

I think she liked it! (Please ignore the disaster on the counter behind her!)

She hardly takes it off, although she has a hard time walking. She's practicing walking like a lady.

Size 4/5 has a little more growing room then I planned on, but I guess that means she can love it longer. However, she has already placed an order for a matching pink gown "because pink is my really favorite color." Good luck with that one, girlie.

One dancing Cinderella ball gown is all this non-fairy-Godmother can handle right now.

Monday, November 7, 2011

What Are We Thankful For?

I think I have mentioned before that once summer is over, I like to decorate for each season or holiday. Autumn is my favorite, because fall colors are my favorite colors. Each year I like to try and make (or buy) a new item, so that my collection of decorations slowly grows. This year I came across an idea in the current issue of Better Homes and Gardens that I thought would be fun to do with the kids.
The idea was a "Thankful Board" that serves two purposes. First, it's a cute decoration and second, it will help us all think about the things we are thankful for. With November being birthday month at our house, it is a good time to focus on thankfulness, without waiting for the official holiday.
First, I bought a cheap, unfinished frame at my favorite store (Hobby Lobby) and stained it.

Then, I cut a piece of foam-core to fit the opening, and covered it with fall-themed fabric.

The next part of the project was kid-friendly: cutting out leaf shapes. Brynn's didn't turn out quite right, but she didn't care.

After that I made a little banner to go across the top that said: "We are Thankful for:" and propped it up on my substitute mantel.

Here are the first two thankfulnesses (I know, that probably isn't a word, but it conveys my meaning, so it should be): Birthdays and Friends. We really do have so many things to be thankful for - seeing this board will remind of that. I should come up with a few leaves of my own.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mommy's Little Helper

Brynnie's third birthday is fast approaching, and she is trying hard to do all the things that big girls do. After all, it's all downhill after three, right? On this particular day, she saw me getting ready to try out a new pumpkin muffin recipe and she wanted to help. But first, she had to dress the part, so she ran and put on her tea party apron. Then we started mixing. Brynnie was VERY careful not to touch the batter, since she is convinced she has allergies. She doesn't really, but since Big Brother is allergic to raw eggs, she is sure that she is too. Why argue with such conviction?

First we mixed and then we scooped.

After baking, we tasted. Being big girls is such fun!