School Projects

Fun Projects

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dressing Up My Clothespins

We finished up our last school workbook on Monday. (Yes, I know Monday was a holiday, but when the student is motivated to finish the book, you let the student do it, holiday or no holiday).  It was a lovely feeling to be finished with the "school schedule" for a few months.  But, wouldn't you know it, on Tuesday it rained.  What a bummer for the first day of summer vacation!
At our house, painting is always a mood improver, so out came the paints.  I had recently gotten some new clothespins (certain unnamed junior family members absconded with all the old ones) and I thought it would be fun to perk them up.  With all the laundry I do at my house, I need plenty of help to keep me cheerful and motivated while I work.  So, I took them apart, and let the kids decorate them.
Blair used her favorite colors: "poe-puhl" and "light poe-puhl".
Some paint got onto other things.  "I didn't REALLY mean to, Mom, my brush was slippery."
They took several hours to dry and then I had to put them all back together.  Putting clothespins together is much harder on your thumb and fingernails then taking them apart - just so you know.
And then, of course, I had a load of laundry all ready to try out.  And there is another one waiting in the washer....and about six more waiting on the laundry room floor....and at least another load currently being carried around on the bodies of the junior set....and.....but I digress.
Happy laundry, everyone!  Maybe you would feel better about it if you got to use fancy clothespins!

Linked up at: Real Family Fun,
Highhill Homeschool

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

Happy Memorial Day!
Around the Kolste house big projects were in the works so we didn't have time to participate in many of the traditional Memorial Day activities, but the kids were interested in what the holiday was all about.  After we talked about remembering the soldiers who gave their lives in the service of our country they insisted on putting out our flag and some patriotic window decorations.  It was a small act, but it was still meaningful to them and I was pleased to encourage it.  

Most of the weekend we spent landscaping.  The kids helped me plant bushes in the front flower beds.
These are Redtwig Dogwood, and I hope the red twigs will give the front of the house some color during the long and dreary winter months.
Blair helped me plant "our" Forsythia bush.
Once the bushes were in place, I was able to start filling in the gaps with perennials.  It'll be a while before the flowerbeds look like I want them too, but at least it's a start.
Most of the weekend, however, was spent hauling loads of dirt into the backyard, in order to properly slope the ground away from the foundation and patio.
I lost track of how many loads there were (my husband will never forgive me for this oversight and will probably provide the correct number in the comments), but it was a lot of dirt to move by hand.
And as if that wasn't enough, Aaron spent the waning hours of the weekend hanging the last of the doors to finish off the living room project.  (Click here, here, here, here, and here for posts on that project.)  Now the pressure is really on for me to finish the curtain panels.
And that was our weekend.

Stay tuned for more projects!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What Color Should I Use?

Some colors make you feel warm.
Image found here.
Others are a little more chilly.
Image found here.
This week was the final "Official Project Day" of the year, and the kids used their crayons to practice using warm or cool colors as a way of showing temperature in their pictures.
I love how they get so close to their work when they are really focusing.
As you may be able to tell, horses are very popular in our group.  We have cool horses grazing in the shade, sweaty cowboys riding horses, horses in the hot desert and even families of horses galloping in the sunshine.  According to some, any picture with a horse in it is a good picture, no matter what the temperature is.
Happy Project Day!

Linked up at: Real Family Fun

Monday, May 20, 2013

You Shall Not Pass!

Now that spring weather is finally here, my kids are pretty much living outdoors. I love it. They wander around doing kid things and having kid adventures, and the only time I see them is when they wander back in  toward the house for snacks and drinks. They even fight less then when they are outside.  The only problem is this swamp.   It borders one side of our yard, and is proving to be a child magnet.
 I don't mind the mud so much - as long as I catch them before they bring it inside with them - but we've had a pretty wet spring and the water level is rather high.  My six-year-old and four-year-old would probably be perfectly safe wading and splashing to their heart's content, but the two-year-old has started playing down there whenever she wants (even sneaking down all by herself), and that is a little more risk then I am prepared to tolerate.  This year, even the mosquitoes are against me.  The buzzing and biting hoards usually chase the kids away from that corner of the yard, but so far they haven't made their appearance this spring (please note that I am NOT lamenting the lack of mosquitoes, only that since we usually have an abundance they did serve a useful purpose.)  Since a fence isn't an option, we needed to come up with a way to let the kids know "You can go only this far - the swamp is out of bounds."

My favorite husband - the ideas man in the family - came up with a very promising solution:  let the kids decorate some garden stakes and then place them along the edge of the yard, marking the boundary.  Theoretically, by participating in this project they will be more likely to remember the purpose of the stakes and not cross beyond the pale.  Only time will tell.

On his next trip to Menards (let's call it Home #3), Aaron picked up some stakes.  I gave the tops a coat of white paint, since I didn't know how well my craft paint would adhere to raw lumber.
**Please note my feet in this picture.  A concern that I never appear on my own blog has been voiced.  Since I don't have enough hands to take pictures of myself doing other things, this seemed the best way to right the wrong.**
On Saturday afternoon I set the kids up outside in the yard, and let them paint however they wanted.
As they finished decorating the stakes, I stuck them in the ground to dry.
Several hours later, after the paint was dry, I brought them down to the edge of the yard and pounded them in.
"You Shall NOT Pass!"
We'll see if it works.

Linked up at: Real Family Fun

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Dress That Wouldn't Be

My husband stood up in a wedding this weekend.  I was SUPPOSED to attend with him, but the flu bug that laid my kids low kept me at home.  I probably should have had a premonition that something like that would happen, because the dress that I made for the event was quite intent on NOT being made.
Many months ago when Aaron was asked to be in the wedding, I started the search for a dress to wear.  It takes me a while, okay?  Eventually I found a pattern I liked, but I still wasn't sure, so I polled a bunch of my sisters and friends.  They gave it the thumbs up - along with some helpful suggestions for colors and such.  However, the next problem popped up immediately: fabric.  I couldn't find any that I liked.  So I waited, and searched the internet, and waited some more.  Obviously fabric would appear if I waited long enough, right?  I was just about ready to give up on that theory when I finally found a print I really liked.  Problem number two was thankfully taken care of.  With the fabric in hand, the next step actually progressed rather quickly.  I got the pattern all laid out and the pieces cut.  I threaded up my machine and then read the instructions.  Uh-oh.  This pattern turned out to be a LOT more complicated then I thought.  My only option was to pack the whole thing up for about a month and hope that when I unpacked it again it would have miraculously sewn itself.  So that's what I did.

It didn't work.

By this time, the deadline was starting to loom a little, so I got myself all psyched up to guts it out and go for the glory.  Huh, whatever.  I wimped out instead and made a practice from scraps I had.  Isn't it gorgeous?
My mom, who came over to help me make some alterations, suggested that I give the practice version to Brynnie for a dress-up dress since it's over-the-top gaudiness seemed right up the little fashionista's alley.  Isn't she a thoughtful grammie?
With the details of the pattern sorted out, it was finally time to sew the actual garment.  I had to call on my mom one more time, to teach me how to using piping and also loan me her sewing machine which has an adjustable zipper foot (my machine does not, worse luck).  In case you were wondering, I am officially a fan of piping.
After months of dawdling and waiting, I was all set to finish that stupid dress on Sunday night - a full six days before the wedding.  That would have been too easy for this project, though.  Instead, I ran out of thread and had to wait until Monday morning to go to Evan's and get a spool of the right color.  At long last, on Monday evening, it was done.  I liked it, it fit, it didn't fall apart, and I still had several days before the wedding to bask in my triumph.
But, as you already know, my kids got the flu on Tuesday and I didn't go to the wedding.  


Better luck next time.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day Joy

Happy belated Mother's Day Everyone!  I enjoyed reading all the Facebook posts about breakfasts in bed and  flowers planted and pleasant outings that people were sharing yesterday.  "My day" was somewhat less then ideal, as three of my kids were still in the midst of some sort of nasty flu bug, but all the kind words, thoughts, and pictures that were being passed around were encouraging to me.  The Dairy Queen ice cream that I found in the freezer at the end of the day was also encouraging! (Thanks Aaron)
Disease may have laid my poor kids very low, but that didn't keep them from giving me cards.  I can thank my own mother for that - so I will: Thanks Mom, you are pretty great.  (I should also mention that she gets bonus mom points for coming over and cleaning up after sick grandchildren.  My mom can answer any and all questions about getting massive amount of laundry done, should you ever need to know!)  On Project Day last week she kicked all the Moms out of art class for a "Secret Project".  Without any support she shoe-horned five rowdy grandchildren into making very fancy Mother's Day cards.  Then the kids hand-delivered the cards and sang us "Happy Mother's Day to You."  It was a fun surprise and the cards were very special.
I shouldn't end this post without saying Happy Mother's Day to my mother-in-law, Mary Jo, too.  Thanks for letting me marry your son and for being such a nice mother-in-law and loving grandma.  I hope you had a lovely day (even though most of my crew missed your brunch).

And now, back to the regular business of being a Mom.  Happy 364 days until the next Mother's Day.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Project Break

On Sunday it seemed like spring had finally come to stay, we abandoned the notion of "getting something done" and instead we decided to go take a walk in the woods.  
In my mind, there is nothing quite so relaxing as a walk in the woods.  We counted 16 deer (or more likely it was 4 deer 4 different times), collected rocks and sticks, and had great fun throwing the rocks and sticks back into the water.  It was a good way to start off another busy projecting week.  Maybe I should add it to my to-do list for next week, too.