Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Lows in Craftiness?

 This past fall, my parents adopted not one, not two, but THREE puppies from a foster home.  And when I say "puppies", I don't mean adolescents.  I mean chewing-up-your-shoes-accidents-in-the-house-never-stop-moving puppies.

They already had another dog who was grieving over the loss of his brother and pack leader, so they looked and looked for the perfect companion for him.  Apparently they were hedging their bets by getting three.

The 3 Amigos

During the run-up to last Christmas, as I was gluing 89 billion Christmas balls to a foam wreath (it's just better if you don't ask why), I thought about my dog-crazy parents and said to myself, "They should have a wreath made of dog bones. (Insert Beavis and Butt-head laugh here.)"  Then, a very dim light bulb went on, and I thought, "They should have a WREATH made of DOG BONES!"

Since I don't really enjoy figuring out how to do stuff myself, I combed Al Gore's greatest invention and came up with...Nothing.  Shocker.

Six months later, I revisited the project with the main question being how to seal all those bones so the wreath didn't end up as a giant bug buffet.

Two words for you: Mod Podge.

At this point, you are marveling at my tenacious crafting spirit.  Or you now understand why my house looks the way it does.

Here is the end result:

I don't know if my parents were impressed or scared.  I think it's pretty cute, but we don't have a dog. Yet.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


 I've had puppet shows on the brain lately.  Since our kids love to watch them, I figured they would enjoy making their own and performing as well.  The kid-construction didn't go so well. Time to drop back and punt.

 Then, I saw this tutorial and the plan was in motion.

 Since the Berenstein Bears and the Cat in the Hat are favorites around here, it was perfect.  Over the weekend, I had a little time to draw and paint them. Mike is by far the better artist, so he helped draw in the details.

I really think we captured Brother Bear's butterfly collar masterfully.

 Thing One and Thing Two are my personal faves. I love their blue yarn hair!

Things One, Two, and Three

 The Cat in the Hat went MIA before I could take a picture, but here are Nick, Sally, and the fish.  Compare what I drew (Nick and Sally) to what Mike drew (the fish).  So jealous!  I wish I could draw like that.

 Here's a sampler puppet show for your viewing pleasure:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Weekend in Memphis

Joe Cool
 We spent the long weekend in Memphis hanging out with my side of the family.

It was the best kind of busy because it didn't feel busy.

First thing Saturday morning, the kids broke in their new baseball bats and ran through the sprinklers in my parents' front yard.

Lady Liberty
 Then, my saintly mom and dad took the munchkins to this amazing park out at Shelby Farms while Mike and I got to shop (!). By ourselves. Without having to chase small people around or weather the storm of tantrums that inevitably follows the command to keep their shoes on and hands to themselves.

 I digress.

Anyway, that afternoon we took the littles down to Rhodes College to check out the Fairytale Festival and to take in a (free) ballet performance of Cinderella.  We just caught the tail end of this event, but it had everything my kids could want in a festival: balloons, wand-making, face painting, bubble machine, balloons, disco, ballet, bounce houses, stilt walkers, and of course, balloons.  I had to do the face painting myself, so check out these mad skills:

Jellicle cat

The extremely rare and terrifying Liger.
 On Sunday, we headed downtown to take in our first baseball game.   Even though Autozone Park is relatively new, it has the feel of a park from baseball's heyday.  And they sell Rendezvous BBQ nachos.  Isn't that all you need for a good time?
Here's the windup.
Standing for the national anthem. That's her hand over her heart.
Instead of getting seats in the stadium (since we all know how great 2- and 3-year-olds are at sitting in one spot) we spread out a blanket on the hill by left field: prime real estate right next to the playground. We saw approximately 1 inning of baseball, and the rest of the time was spent sliding or hanging from the monkey bars. Only the lure of cotton candy and Rocky the Redbird could bring these diehard baseball fans back to watch somebody actually hit the ball.

A girl and her Grumps.
 By Monday's road-trip back to Nashville, we had two tuckered-out people.  The kids were pretty sleepy, too.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

There's a Bathroom on the Right

My kids loooove to sing. From Disney tunes to Bobby Darrin, the Batman theme song to t.v. ads, we will belt it out.

 Most of the time, I am impressed with how much of the melody and words they remember, but a lot of times they tickle my funny bone with their version of the words. Here's a sampling of their renditions of some well-known songs:

"John Jacob Jingleheimer Snake, Da da da da da da da..."

"I'm bringing home a baby bumblebee,
Won't my mommy pizza proud of me?"

"Pretzel-o cup,
I lift you up,
Proceed to party!"

"Rock the cat-song,
Rock the cat-song." (Rock the Casbah)

"Mmmm, booh-bah has it.
Mmmm, booh-bah has it." (Rumor Has It)

"Country girl, shake it fo me, girl,
Shake it fo me." (You gotta hear Will sing this while doing his carseat dance. Classic.)

"Whatever makes you feel like a rock star!
You can keep your shoes on in the ca-ar!"

Sorry there aren't any pictures or video today.  A lot of good stuff is being held hostage by the iPad, phone, or camera because we need to make room on the computer.  

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cheekwood Treehouses

A week ago, we took advantage of a free pass to Cheekwood as an opportunity to check out our local flora.  We went there this past Halloween for Dia de las Muertas and had a ball, so we were really looking forward to seeing what was new.  

The hands-down favorite activity was playing in this treehouse:  

Says Mike "This Old House" Brown: "I could make one like that in our yard." 

How about let's start with the sandbox, shall we, Mike?

And, here are some shots of the kids studiously avoiding the camera.

"What do tadpoles eat, Mommy?"  I'm really gonna need to brush up on my Life Science to keep pace with my little Jane Goodall.

The best part of our trip was seeing the construction of all of these amazingly creative tree houses going up all over the grounds of the park. 

  Here is a giant fish and the architects are using thousands of cd's for the scales.  We're going back as soon as all of these creations are complete, because they're meant for kids to play in them.  

Sarah's new thing is to pick a random object, such as this sculpture made of repurposed clothing, give her best Zoolander impersonation, and let me take a million pictures.  

I'll try to post more regularly than I have been.  We've been busy working on a business plan for our lemonade/popcorn stand and Will's putting the finishing touches on some dynamite blueprints for our shadow-puppet theater.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

Kid Art

I have a confession: I have a teensy problem with hoarding.  Old socks make great puppets, empty paper towel rolls are fantastic pirate telescopes, and don't even get me started on the many uses of old baby food jars.  

But, where I really run into problems is with the kids' artwork.  I can't throw any of it away.  Every piece has a story, told with wide eyes and big gestures.  Every piece marks a milestone (the first attempt at faces or coloring a rainbow).  For now, the artwork is either displayed around the house or stored in a giant Rubbermaid box in our basement, but I know we'll outgrow it before too long.  

Anyway, I thought I'd try out taking a picture of the original and saving it instead of the actual art.  Here are some of the latest productions and the stories behind them.


I got this idea from TipJunkie to send hugs to family members far away.  They were supposed to be Mother's Day cards for my mother-in-law, Karin, but they still haven't made it to the post office yet. (Sorry, Nana!)

I traced the kids and then let them fill in their features and, in Sarah's case, accessories.  

I think the rainbow hair and necklaces really make the outfit, don't you?

Will gave himself "big hair" (his words, not mine) and an orange handlebar mustache.  I drew his eyes and nose, while he moved on to stuffing two cheese sticks in his mouth.  

The last picture is a map Sarah drew for me.  It shows the route for the half-marathon I ran a couple of weeks back.  Evidently, there were a total of four Big Bad Wolves on the race course.  But, she told me it could also be a sunflower, you know, if you didn't want to think about being chased by hungry carnivores or running til you chafe.