January 28, 2011

Living in the Land of Legos

The boys have been fans of legos for a while now but ever since our trip to Disney World and their introduction to Star Wars, they've moved from fan to fanatic.  They love the Star Wars lego ships, the mini figures, the building of it all.  After trying out some smaller sets we've moved on to bigger sets and I gotta say, this kids pretty good...

 It works out because while he's obsessed with the ships Little Brother is obsessed with the "guys".  Anakin Skywalker was the one thing he took to bed night after night.  We often woke up to cries of 'where my ky-walker'.  Anakin was so loved his face has long wore off and he now has a yellow lego head.  He is still loved. Legos are now banned from bedtime to prevent mid-night wake up calls.
Little Brother hoards these lego guys... collects them in bins and boxes and carries them wherever he can.  The other day I found him placing them each neatly in their own little seat along the edge of a 5 gallon paint bucket.  He was pretty excited to have me take pictures of his "creation".  Usually its big brother's lego creations that get photographed (mostly because I know they'll never be the same again after being played with) but now its your turn buddy... here's all the "guys"

Is it totally ridiculous how excited I get over his compulsive need to line them up nice and orderly?  I love order!  And yes we have a random paint bucket amongst their toys.  It's been used as a chair, a table, a rocket, a catchall, a weapon (they manage to make anything here in to a weapon), a catchall, and now a lego guy round table.  That's a lot of bang for two bucks.

January 22, 2011

Snow Day!

Isn't it lovely to wake up to a snow covered world knowing that you have no where you have to be?  No clearing off the car or navigating the slippery roads.  It was a no rush, laze around kind of  morning.  I had bought a snow tube earlier in the week in preparation for the forecasted snow and the kids started getting anxious to get out in the snow.

Let Operation Bundle-Up begin!  It always amazes me just how long the process of putting on snow gear takes... so an hour later:

 We were sledding on a small hill behind our house.  I was in charge of pictures.  Phil was in charge of getting them up and down the hill; adjusting gloves and pants; clearing off snow covered faces. I definitely got the easy part of the sledding.

Little brother was getting cold and big brother had to go to the bathroom.  Bathroom breaks are a deal breaker... no way I'm doing the unbundle, rebundle, unbundle all over.  They were both chilled and in need of some hot chocolate.

And the aftermath... enough clothing for two loads of laundry and towels spread all through the house.

Its worth it.  It was the first time sledding for both boys and they loved it.  They're already asking to do it again.  More snow in the forecast for this weekend - maybe I'll ditch the camera and join in this time. 

January 21, 2011

Tin Can Telephones

Late night TV time and those soup commercials keep coming on... you know the ones where the people are calling the soup company on the tin can "phone" to talk to their grandmother? No? Just me? Well, whatever, it sparked an urge to make a tin can telephone for the boys.

Two cans, some string... how easy is this?!? All you need...2 cans, string, hammer, nail, and a sucker an assistant to hold the nail.

1. Thoroughly wash the cans and remove labels
2. Poke a hole through the bottom of the can using a nail and hammer
3. Thread string though the holes of each can and tie a large knot on inside of can
4. Try to explain the science of it all to your kids while they loudly yell into their cool new phones, ignoring everything you say.

A few tips... Mason string is not the best choice (we were on a speedy errand run and it was that or twine). I've read that kite string is best. Cans with pop off tops are no good - they leave a sharp ring around the opening.

I decided to hang these up in the boys room. They are in bunk beds and sometimes play in there fort style... every fort needs a tin can phone, right? I put them at the foot of the bed to discourage bedtime phone calls.

I called the husband a "few" times during the day trying to determine the safest way to put the eye screws in the wall. Call 1: can I nail a hammer in for a pilot hole?; Call 2: will the plaster get messed up if I drill a pilot hole?; Call 3: do I need to use an anchor even if we're only talking about a few ounces of weight to support? Mid-day my hubby walks through the door with this:
Just for me. He loves me, he really loves me! Its all mine. The boys have been informed "hands off, its mommy's special toy". Now if I could just get him to walk through the door with my very own nail gun.

January 10, 2011

Christmas in review | DIY therapy packs and Lightsaber earrings

We had a great Christmas and New Year.  We started the holiday break with the capture of a tiny little mouse.  The process of capturing it took several hours and a lot of chocolate chips as bait.  Once we had him captured we put him in a rubbermaid tote and fed him different foods until it was time for his release.  This mouse likes bread and chocolate chips but NOT cheese or peanut butter.  huh.

Then it snowed. A lot. When the weather turned nice and it hit nearly 70 degrees I thought it would be a perfect time to release him.  We were ready to head out the door when the tornado sirens went off.  Then actual tornadoes came through the city.  We hung out in the basement. So did the mouse (thanks to my kids tearful pleas).  Weeks later the mouse is still with us.  This was the week for him to go but now there's snow on the way.  Sigh.  I'm gonna leave this release thing up to my husband... I'm sure he'll be released tonight regardless of snow, tornadoes, or firestorms.

This holiday I tried to get the boys involved in the season of giving.  They were in charge of picking out certain gifts and were given a very meager budget to do so.  We also focused on making a lot of our gifts.  Big brother picked out ornaments from the Missouri Botanical Gardens for his teacher's gifts.  Then we set about making a pen holder/gift wrapping.

We wrapped some aluminum cans in scrapbook paper, glued on ribbon around the top edge, and tucked the ornaments inside.  We added stickers to circle magnets to make this one even more multi-purpose.  Now its a pen holder-note holder-gift wrap.

We have several neighbors on our street that are older single ladies.  We try to visit them when we can.  They love to see the boys and are so touched at even the smallest gesture.  So we set about making small gift bags for 8 of our neighbors.  We baked lots of cookies.  Chocolate, chocolate chip and Beacon Hill cookies drizzled in chocolate.

For the other handmade gift to go in the bags we decided to make what we call boo-boo packs.  You fill a fabric baggie with rice (or wheat), add a few drops of essential oil, and sew them up.  They can be microwaved to use as a heat pack or put in the freezer for use as a cold compress or for boo-boos.  I made eleven of these.  The first one took forever.  Then I went on youtube to check a video on how to thread a sewing machine and the rest were done in minutes.  They turned out very nice.  I'd give a tutorial here but seeing as I needed to look up on youtube how to use my sewing machine you might be better googling diy therapy packs to find a better tutorial.

After delivering the bags of goodies to eight of our neighbors (the delivery took longer than the making of the gifts; the neighbors like to visit; another lesson for the boys on the holiday spirit of giving... giving time)

When we got home I set to work on making Lego lightsaber earrings for my sister who is sort of a Star Wars nerd.  Now that I have been thoroughly schooled in all that is Star Wars and I am surrounded by these adorable Star Wars legos the creative ideas are endless.  I don't typically make jewelry so this was a wing-it DIY project but they turned out and she was pretty happy with them.

Then the Christmas madness began.  We do Christmas presents on Christmas eve morning since its the only quiet, relaxed time we have to really take the time to open presents and be together just the four of us.  The boys loved their presents and spent the day with new legos...

Then it was a weekend FULL of family.  Presents at my mom's house; presents at Phil's mom's house.  A million cousins to play with all weekend (and week) long.  Tons of time for me with my family and in-laws.  A really wonderful holiday.

After unwrapping all their toys and opening a few the boys decided to play with...
a box.  Yep, it was a rollercoaster among other things.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.  I know we did.