"If we hope to create a non-violent world where respect and kindness replace fear and hatred, we must begin with how we treat each other at the begining of life. For that is where our deepest patterns are set. From these roots grow fear and alienation or love and trust."
Suzanne Arms

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentines Day!!



Married in 1998







 5 kids and counting

Much LOVE to you this Valentines Day

Piper and Xian 2007

Friday, February 12, 2010

Decorative Tissue Boxes


So we decorated these tissue boxes for Valentines day, for the kids to put their valentines in.  I got the idea from the Family Fun magazine/website.  So afterwords I was left with a dilemma.  I don't typically buy tissues in boxes like this so I bought 4 boxes for the kids to decorate and I was left with a pile of tissues.  So here I am looking at the tissues trying to figure out what to do with them when I was struck . . . duh, the kids are finished with their party, why not stick the tissues back in the boxes!!

They are SO cute!!  I thought . . . what a fun idea!!  You can buy tissue boxes, take the tissues out, let the kids decorate them then pop the tissues back in!!  We have one in the kitchen, one in the bathroom and one in the office (Xian wanted to keep his in his room for all of his stuff).

 Ever painting is monster

Ever and Arah made monsters out of their boxes, and Piper made a cat!  But you could really do anything.  You could make any animal or design!  I let the kids paint them and then decorate with stickers etc. but you could use glitter, or decoupage pictures, paper, or designs, hot glue twine or sticks, leaves.  You can let the kids go wild and do whatever they want or you could do a theme to match a particular room.  The options are endless!!

 Arah painting his monster

The kids did these mostly by themselves, I only helped a little.  They loved it and they really love seeing their boxes on display and being used by the whole family!  Not only that, but I think it encourages them to actually use the tissues instead of their fingers or shirt (which really comes in handy when everyone has mild colds and snotty noses, like we do now, LOL)

Valentines Day Stuff

Our local natural families group had a valentines party last week.  I have been in a crafty mood for the last few months so of course I was wanting to do some cool crafts with the kids.  I really like the Family Fun website because they have cool recipes and crafts for each season and holiday.  It is a great place to get ideas and that is where I got all of these.  I also get the family fun magazine (it was a super cheap subscription deal) and that helps to spark my creativity too  . . . and believe me, I need it as I feel my brain doesn't function well most days!!

So we decided to make some valentines, some boxes to hold them and then some treats.  We don't eat a ton of junk or additives and food colorings etc. but on holidays and special occasions we go all out and I try not to feel too bad about all the crap we are eating (note, I said TRY, I always feel guilty as I would love to be sugar free . . . I just like it too durn much).

I got some sucker sticks and we made chocolate suckers.  I used milk chocolate and white chocolate chips.  I died like 1/2 of the white chips with (that icky) red food coloring to make pink.  All I did was take chocolate chips, melt them, put them in a sandwich bag, snip off the end and make heart shapes on top of the sticks.  OK it seems easy but try making free form heart shapes out of melted chocolate in a sandwich bag with a wiggly baby on your back and you can imagine that my hearts looked more like blobs, LOL!!  Doesn't' matter though, they all taste the same!

Ever in the picture at top, and Piper and Ever here decorating the suckers.
I did pop them in the fridge to harden, but after that they held up really well at room temp.  I did not add anything to them, just used the regular melted chips.

We then made some valentine boxes to hold the kids valentines they would get at the party.  We used tissue boxes.  The kids painted them first, then I sprayed them with a clear coat of poly (water based).  I was concerrned about the paint rubbing off since the cardboard of the boxes was kind of shiny.  Then they decorated them with stickers and stuff.  We used felt for the teeth and googly eyes.  I used a glue gun to glue on the teeth and pipe cleaners. 

Xian made his box all himself (left).  He made that plant thing from the Super Mario Brothers Nintendo games . . . shoot I forget what they are called.  He covered it with construction paper.  The only thing I did was the teeth. 
Ever's is in the middle.  It is a monster.  He did all the painting and decorating himself, I only did the eyes and teeth.  I thought it was great considering he just turned 3!  But he loves to paint.

Of course Pipers is the cat (she loves cats).  I had to help more with this, cutting out the ears/tail and teeth.  But she painted the whole box orange (had to do like 4 coates) and even gave him stripes.  She modeled him after Starlight, our orange kitty who disappeared a few months ago :0(  
And then Arah's monster on the right below.  Again, he did it all himself except the antenna and teeth.  
They were all very particular about how they wanted them to look. 

They worked perfectly for holding their valentines!!
For our valentines to give away I cut out several dozen hearts in a few different colors (red, pink, and purple).  I gave each kid like a dozen hearts and crayons and let them color/decorate them, then I threaded them over a lollipop stick to make flowers.
You can see them in the kids hands below.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blizzard of 2010 part 3

I know you may be getting tired of all my snow pictures (especially those of you who get a lot of snow like this) but I had to post just a few more.  This is totally historic for us!
We got another snow last night and today, on top of our almost 3 ft. from a few days ago. We are guessing it was around a foot or so but it was impossible to really measure it because it really was a blizzard!!  The wind is crazy!! (am listening to it blow around right now). All the trenches Charlie dug the other day are like 1/2 filled up, well some of them are all the way full of snow again.  And he spent hours digging out the cars the past 2 days only to have a bulk of the work undone by the blowing snow. . . I mean there is a wall in front of the truck again!!  We are up to like 100" of snow up here for the year!

This is our back door.  This was clear the day before (charlie dug it out, he dug the car out too, it was covered with the first snow).  Notice the pattern of the door on the snow!! 
This picture also shows how the snow was blowing around.  It wasn't snowing most of the day today, but the wind was blowing so hard that the snow on the ground was blowing around . . . and according to Charlie, it was painful when it hit you!  Needless to say, the kids did NOT go out and play today!

 This is our front door, the snow is pressed up against the glass outer door there and if you look at the bottom of the picture, you can see where some has actually migrated inside the house (we haven't opened the storm door yet, it was hard to open because it was blocked so much).  What is so interesting about this picture is that the porch there, where all the snow is, has a roof on it!!  So all that snow blew in there!!

This is our screen porch (that Charlie built BTW ;0).  Normally when you look out there you see the gray tile on the floor!  That is all covered with snow that blew through the screen.

This is the barn, the snow is about 1/2 way up the door there!!  Also, the middle board of the 3 board fence is completely covered!!
All this snow is kind of like an adventure.  Luckily we haven't lost power or anything and we have just been enjoying hanging out.  We have been making WAY too much junk food (cookies and stuff that we don't normally eat a lot of) but that is part of the fun!  Oh and snow cream!  
We have been putting wood floors in the bedroom (the last room we have to do) so we had mattresses out in the living room and stuff . . . the kids have been loving it. 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Blizzard of 2010 part 2

Here is an update from my previous post.
We figured the total snow fall at around 33-34".  We had to average because it was blowing around so much.  No place measured less than 30" but we had some spots that were 4 foot.  The stuff was blowing around a lot.

Piper trying to walk around

Piper and Arah in one of the many trenches Charlie dug around the house

Charlie built a fort.  The snow was so high that it was easy, all he had to do was dig into it.

The kids going inside

Piper and Ever and Littlefoot (or as I call him . . . LittleFat)



Charlie digging more trenches around the house

Playing in the trenches

Xian in his "home" that he dug out by hand

Thrace sitting in the trenches

Making another fort
Front yard

The view out our bedroom window

The bedroom window from outside

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Blizzard of 2010

Well technically not a blizzard, but that is what they are calling it on the news. DC has reportedly the most snow in 90 yrs. We are northwest of DC and have over 30" so far from where Charlie measured in the middle of the yard, though some areas are much deeper . . . and it is STILL snowing (as you can see in these pix).  I want to take a picture of the kids out in the snow but I am probably going to wait till tomorrow when it has stopped snowing (so I can get the most accurate pictures).  Right now they are fine playing on the porch, since we have like a foot that has drifted there, but it is kind of impossible to play in snow that comes up to your waist!!
ETA: added more pictures in a new post HERE

Here are the pix from today, I'll get more tomorrow after it has finished snowing

The view out our side door

The view out the back door.  That large white mound in the back is THE CAR . . . completely covered!!

Here is the same door from the outside, and the lump again (to the left) which is the car completely covered!

 Same area of the yard, from the roof (notice the lump of a buried car again)

That is our truck (Ford Expedition)
Notice all the icicles on the house

The snow is up to the middle board on the 3 board fence

The swings are buried

Trying to shovel

Out in an opened area to measure the depth of the snow

You know we tried to get Ptolemy (the greyhound) to go out in the snow, and he usually loves running in it, but he was NOT interested this time.  I guess he is only like 27" at the shoulder (a pretty tall dog) but he would be covered in this snow.  Maybe if/when we all go out he will be more likely to run and play.


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