Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Kids Say the Darndest

There have been a few discussions/quotes in the past week or so that I want to remember so I am recording them here...

As Shane was leaving for work the other day, Bug told him "Have a good adventure!"

We took a trip to Kalahari for Monkey's birthday.  While we were in the wave pool there, Bug was looking into my eyes and smiling as we floated in the wave pool and he said:  "I could just look at you allllll day!"

The other day, during Monkey's small, immediate-family-only birthday party, completely out of the blue he exclaimed, "I'm gay!"  This is a topic that just hasn't really come up yet, so I was quite surprised to hear him say that.  I asked him where he heard it.  He couldn't remember.  I asked if he knew what it meant and he replied something like, "You start out as a girl and then you turn into a boy."  Wanting to be direct and honest and not make a big deal out of it, I said, "Um, no.  Being gay means, if you're a boy - you love boys, and if you're a girl - you love girls."  And he said, "Or it just means you're happy.  So, I'm gay!"  Well okay then.  I was all worried about getting that important conversation just right and he meant it in a completely different way.  Not sure what the grandparents made of that exchange...

At bedtime a couple nights ago, the kids suddenly got super riled up and were maniacally dancing around and singing "What Does the Fox Say?"  My husband, at the end of his patience, attempted to impose some calm and said in a stern voice:  "Alright that's enough.  You are CUT OFF from that song.  There will be no more 'What Does the Fox Say?' today."  I could not contain my amusement at the notion of cutting someone off from a song... I tried not to let the kids see that I was laughing, but my shoulders were shaking too hard.  So that diffused a bit of the effect poor Shane was going for.

Yesterday morning, I asked Bug to stop doing something and he replied, "I just can't help it.  My brain is my brain, and my think is my think."  Sounds like a Dr. Seuss quote or something.

I feel like there are a couple more but they aren't coming to me right now.  I'll update if I remember more...

UPDATE:  One more.  "Dad is sooooo strong.  He could probly lift a elephant right?"  --Bug

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Your Daily Moment of Zen

Bug was watching a Minecraft video and was moved to get up and dance to the music. It kind of looks like he is imitating dance moves, but he is not - those moves are 100% his.  Just thought I'd share because it makes me smile every time I watch it.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

DIY Locker Project

I have developed a new semi-obsession:  following several local buy/sell/trade pages on Facebook.  It's like a giant virtual garage sale - people post pics of things they're selling and you just scroll through to peruse the offerings.  If you see something you want, you comment on it and then contact the seller via private message to make arrangements to meet.  Since there are pages for very specific local areas - even neighborhoods - this means that you can get the benefits of yard sale-ing without having to actually drive around and visit dozens of individual sales, and you never have to travel very far.  When I buy or sell something, I usually just meet people in the library parking lot up the street, which is super convenient since we go there all the time anyway.  I have scored some great deals and I've also made a little money and gotten rid of some clutter by selling stuff on there as well.  If you've never searched for local buy/sell/trade sites, I highly recommend it.

I want to share my favorite find so far.  I bought a set of school lockers for $30.  I knew as soon as I saw them that they would be the perfect solution to our unfortunate lack of closets and cluttered, unorganized side-entry hallway where we shed our coats and shoes.  I also loved the idea of our home school having its own lockers!  There were two banks of three lockers, for a total of six, which means one locker for each family member plus two more for guests.

Forgive me, but I forgot to take a "before" pic, so you will have to form one in your mind.  They were just painted a plain white and the door fronts were a bit rusty.  My wonderful husband cleaned them up and fixed/reinforced a few things, and then painted the frames and insides with about 10 cans of this:

Rustoleum's Hammered Finish Silver Paint

There were probably cheaper options (10 cans @ $5.77 each = $57.70) but we went with this paint because it looks nice and will leave a very durable finish.  When he finished that step, I painted the door fronts with a charcoal grey chalkboard paint.  I thought it would be fun for each person to be able to decorate their own door, and change it up from time to time.  I am very happy with how this product covered and how it looks, and it was very reasonably priced at $9.67 for a quart.  I did two coats and I still have over half the can left so I can do another chalkboard project somewhere else in the house as well.

Rustoleum's Chalkboard Paint - I had mine tinted to the color "moonstone".

First, here is the "before" shot of my hallway.  We just had coat hooks on the wall and a heap of shoes below, as well as a catch-all shelf constantly piled with stuff.  Oh, and Noodle's dish, which we moved to the kitchen.

Aaaannnnndddd.... AFTER!

And finally, after 3 days' curing time for the paint, we were free to write on our lockers!  Yay!


I am beyond thrilled with how they turned out.  What do you think?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Mansfield Art Center special exhibit - The Art of the Brick by Nathan Sawaya

Also in November, we went on a very cool excursion to Mansfield, OH.  It's only an hour away but I had never been there before.  The main reason for the trip was to visit the "Art of the Brick" exhibit by Lego artist/sculptor Nathan Sawaya.  His creations are both visually and technically amazing.

Self portrait of the artist.  Apparently he built this one of himself and one of his wife to greet guests at the entry to their home when they had a party.







Flip flops



Equally as interesting and creative as the actual exhibit, there was also a room full of pieces designed by kids in various Lego clubs. 

I was a bit confused by this one until I read the title:  Writer's Block.  Very clever!

Pretty picnic scene

These Wizard of Oz pieces were by far my favorites of the kid creations.  On the left is Dorothy's house, swept up in the tornado, and on the right is the Emerald City.

Finally, there was a room full of bins of Legos you could build with.  "M" for Monkey!

As we were leaving the museum, a volunteer overheard us talking about going to lunch and asked us where we were going.  We told her we had packed a lunch and were just going to have a picnic somewhere.  She recommended we visit the Gorman Nature Center, so we did.  It was definitely worth the visit.  There were lots of creatures to check out - snakes, frogs, fish, birds, turtles, etc. and the kids really enjoyed it.

No matter how hard I tried, I could not get a good shot of the little screech owl.  But he was my favorite!  Here, Bug is pointing him out.

The volunteer who was working let us go up into the third-story observation tower.  Here is a bit of the view.  Notice all of the solar panels on the roof, too.

In the observation tower

A real paper wasp nest, cut away to reveal a cross section.  *shudder*

Our final stop on our Mansfield excursion was to the lovely Richland Carousel.  It has a wonderful variety of beautiful hand-carved animals to choose from.  We had the entire place to ourselves and rode it twice.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Field Trip - Nov 8, 2013

In November, we went on a wonderful field trip, which was organized by Kim over at Kim's Ohio Homeschooling Events.  We took a ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, and the trip included people in period costumes, educating the kids about what life was like in the 1800's.  There was a demonstration about churning butter, where the kids passed around small bottles of milk, taking turns shaking the bottles vigorously while singing a song.  Sure enough, it turned to butter!  We also learned about how kids dressed, what kind of toys they played with, and what school was like for them.

Waiting at the station for the train to arrive.

A view of the Y bridge in Akron

Traffic circle on Smith Road.  It was neat seeing a road I'd been on many times, from a different perspective.

This was during the churning butter demonstration.

Demonstrating a Jacob's Ladder toy.
The train stopped and reversed direction at the same location they use for the "North Pole" on the holiday Polar Express trips.