Frozen Paint Pops

frozen paint pops

It’s been hot here lately. So hot that all you want to do is lay on the couch. So hot that even going to the pool seems like too much to do. I thought that something frozen would be a great idea for art group. Frozen paint pops turned out to be a great idea! They were super easy to make, and fun to use.

To make the pops, mix up some liquid watercolor, or thin down some tempera or finger paint. Then pour into ice cube trays. Put them in the freezer. After about 20 minutes, add craft sticks. Don’t worry if they don’t stick straight up-the kids aren’t going to mind. Put them back in the freezer and freeze until they are solid. Then remove them from the tray and use like a paintbrush.

painting with ice

None of the kids mistook these for popscicles, but you could probably use frozen Kool-Aid or Jello paint if you have kids that still like to put things in their mouths.

how cold is it?

We definitely had kids feeling the ice and painting their hands with it, but nothing went in the mouth.

collaborative painting

When the kids have had enough painting on their own paper, get a large sheet out and have them do a collaborative painting. It was fun to see how the colors mixed and what kinds of shapes we could make with the ice, drips, and sticks.


Cleaning House…the bane of my existence

The other day I was taking a mental break while Little O spread his crayons all over the living room floor. Not to worry, I said to myself, we’ll clean them up later. Later came and I was faced with a defiant two-year-old and a short temper. I recall thinking to myself, “are you really losing it over a few crayons on the floor?” I think I really lost it for a couple of reasons. The first was that I felt Little O was purposefully ignoring me. Since he is only two, this wasn’t what was going on. He was merely continuing to explore his world and have fun. He couldn’t understand why mom was getting upset. The second reason that contributed to my ire was that I had an agenda to meet that wasn’t being met. I wanted a clean house. I crave a clean house. I NEVER get a clean house. Maybe never is too strong a word. My sweet husband helps me clean the house from top to bottom when I have come to the end of my tolerance with dirt, and he is generally very helpful doing routine things like laundry and dishes.

However, the cleanliness and order in my house is usually below the standard that will keep me stress-free. I contribute to a large part of the chaos: I’m not the most organized person, I find it very difficult to complete any task when I have to constantly switch from task to task (something which has become a constant state of being since becoming a mother), and I simply would rather do other things than housework. So I do contribute to my own irritation, but I have found that this has exponentially increased since I now live with two other people, one of them a toddler.

Anyway, after apologizing to Little O for losing my temper, I called my older sister for some mom-to-mom chat and mostly for advice. I was wondering if I’d ever be able to patiently put aside my needs while caring for my little one. She gave me two great pieces of advice. She said the thing that helped her the most was that her kids grew up. This wasn’t the advice I was expecting; I was really hoping for a great piece of wisdom that would give me the ability to snap my fingers and grow all the patience in the world. What I learned was that we all have our buttons that get pushed sometimes, and you just have to anticipate that they’ll be pushed, find a way to gracefully navigate through the rough spots and look forward to a time when they won’t be constantly pushed. Little O will be on to other buttons, I’m sure.

The second thing that she said was this:

“Cleaning the house when the kids are growin’ is like shoveling the walk while it’s still snowin’.”

I laughed. and laughed. and laughed. I got the hint. I need to realize that while I DO need to clean the house while my kids are small, the effort spent will be undone almost as soon as it gets accomplished. I think the reasons for cleaning the house while the kids are young is to teach them to be clean, not necessarily to have a clean house. Point taken. So Emilie, grab some serenity and let go of having a spotless house. That will come eventually. Right now it’s still snowing, and it won’t stop for another 16 years or so.

OilCloth covered card table

card table before

It all started when my mom found a few cheap folding chairs. Then she found a dozen free folding chairs. Her collection grew until she had about 20 chairs. I decided I needed to adopt four of the chairs and one of her three folding tables and make a cute outdoor set.

The stipulation was that she could borrow them back when she needed them for a party. (WHEN, I ask, is my mom going to entertain 20+ guests at her house? I don’t know. But she can borrow them whenever she likes. Thanks, mom!)

The first step was choosing fabric for the table. I love fabric, so settling on one option was difficult indeed. There were so many fun laminated cottons and oilcloths that it took me at least two weeks to decide what to use. A favorite from Japanese designer Etsuko Furuya, seen here, will probably be featured when I do another table.

In the end I decided on a lovely lime green oil cloth featuring colorful mums.

lime green mum oilcloth

I know, it’s worlds away from the Furuya fabric, but I had to go with something that would coordinate with what my mom would like on her tables. It was also at least half the price of the other stuff.

The first step in this process was sanding and painting the chairs and table. I unscrewed the top of the table from the legs (very easy to do), and took everything out to the garage to work on sanding. I really just focused on roughing up the surface and sanding away any rust. Please note: you SHOULD use a ventilator while doing this. About half-way through with the chairs I realized that they I was were from the 1940’s and the paint likely contained lead. Oops.

Once the chairs were sanded, I spray painted them with Rust-oleum paint in various colors. (I think they were Colonial Red, Aubergine, Paprika, and Claret Wine, all in a satin finish.)

rust-oleum paint

Spray painting was a bit tricky-I found that the best coverage came with even, sweeping strokes, never dwelling on one spot. If you stop and spray in one area, that’s when the paint starts dripping. It’s especially difficult to do this using dark colors on a light base and painting very narrow table legs. Just keep the can moving–that’s my best tip. I used about one can per chair, and another can on the table. If you are better with spray paint than I am, you probably won’t need as much.

Re-upholstering the top was pretty simple. Once the old cover was removed, I just put the board down on the back of my fabric and trimmed, making sure to leave enough fabric around the edge to wrap all the way around the edge of the table, with a couple of inches to spare so that I had something to grip when I was pulling the fabric tight.

trimming the cloth

I did use some thin quilt batting between the table top and the oilcloth to give it a bit of cushion. The batting I cut flush with the edge of the table. Instead of stapling the oilcloth onto the board, I used a glue gun to glue it down. I chose this method simply because I couldn’t find staples short enough. The smallest ones I could find were 1/4 inch, and the table top is a bit less than 1/4 inch, so the staples would have come through the top of the card table.

I glued one side down, waited for it to dry, and then pulled the other side tight and glued that down. Once that side was dry, I did the other two sides. Once everything was dry, I did another row of glue (I laid it on thick) around the whole table and then trimmed the extra fabric. Then I screwed the top onto the legs and this is what the finished table looks like:

finished table

Isn’t it pretty? Just right for a summer evening dinner.

I really love how my Fiesta Ware looks with it.

Fiesta Ware




Morning Devotional

As part of my effort to live my life with more intention, I started a morning devotional with my son. It takes about 5 or 10 minutes, but so far has been a welcome addition to our mornings.

Let me tell you that mornings are NOT my forte. When I was in pre-school, my mom said I was so slow in the mornings I’d frequently miss school. In elementary school I’d usually be in my pajamas when my best friend showed up to walk to school together. I’d usually end up walking alone. My youngest sister says the chore she dreaded getting assigned was waking me up in the morning. At my first job out of college, my colleagues would say “don’t talk to Emilie before ten in the morning!” So let’s just say I’m very slow to wake up and put on my happy face.

Since I have this little challenge, I feel like it’s important for me to be awake at least an hour before Little O so that I’m a bit more pleasant when I get him out of bed. That way I can do my own personal prayers and study and do a few things that I want to do without toddler-style interruptions. This effort has been hit-and-miss. I’ll report more on that later.

However, the morning devotional has added some cheer into our mornings and as a bonus Little O has started memorizing some scriptures! (He just turned two.)

The morning devotional consists of 1) singing songs, 2) saying a scripture (we recite the same scripture for a whole week before we move on to another one), and 3) a morning prayer.

Generally I let Little O pick the songs; he either names them or we look through our Primary Songbook and he stops at a picture he likes. I sing them mostly off-tune and sometimes with a made-up tune since I’m not very good at sight-singing songs. This lasts anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes. Then we do our scripture, reciting it at least once, and sometimes more. I ask him to repeat as much as he can. Then we do our kneeling prayer and that’s it!

It’s a first attempt for me at a real morning ritual and a schedule for our day, and so far Little O and I really love it. I think it adds an important bit of connection with him at the beginning of the day, it helps us get our routine of morning prayer and scripture study going at an early age, and since it is part of our schedule it helps him transition to the “next thing.”

Have you ever done a morning devotional? What worked for you?