Thursday, August 30, 2012

Melanoma, Organic Apples, and Cast Iron

A while back I was asked to write a little article about our household's transition from Teflon pots and pans to cast iron and stainless steel pots and pans.  It was published a few days ago on the website, Family Sponge.  Family Sponge is a really fun website filled with articles and ideas about healthy living, family life, and creative play.  It really is a 'playground for parents'.

The link to my article called, Melanoma, Organic Apples and Cast Iron is here.  A follow up article about the care of cast iron pans will appear in September.

If you haven't visited Family Sponge before you may enjoy browsing the site for awhile!

Have a wonderful long weekend!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Charm's New Ship Wheel

We completed many projects in the days leading up to Charm's Shark Pirate Party, and one of them was creating a portable ship wheel for Charm.  He received the unfinished ship wheel in (or under) his Easter basket* this year, and we'd planned to make a stand for it ever since.  Bill and Charm worked together to create this stand using scrap wood from our garage.

It's simple in design and tons of fun!  The wheel spins around, and Charm pretends he's on a boat or a fire truck (his latest obsession:)) or some other moving vehicle.

I stained the stand and put a protective coat of satin polyacrylic on top.

Bill figured out what kind of hardware we needed to make it spin around.  I'm not sure what exact parts he used, but if anyone is curious I'll ask him:)!

*I believe the Easter Bunny found the ship wheel at Michael's on clearance for $2.99 last winter.  They were clearing out the 'wood' section at the time.  I did see unfinished ship wheels there again this summer for $12.99...but with a coupon that would only be about $7:).

Friday, August 24, 2012

They Grow so Fast!

You might be interested in The Bus Ride Movie by Gretchen Rubin too.  I'm currently reading her book, The Happiness Project, and I'm just loving it!

Enjoy one of the last weekends of summer!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Shark Pirate Party....Arrr!!!

We were so blessed with a beautiful day and terrific weather for Charm's birthday party.  It was a shark pirate party because Charm kept insisting he wanted a shark birthday, and I wasn't quite sure how to pull that off.  I kept hinting that perhaps we could have a pirate birthday party with sharks.  Charm suggested that he could dress up like a shark and chase everyone at the party who was dressed up like a pirate.  Perfect.  Charm's Shark Pirate Party was born:).  

Bill and I had a blast coming up with fun party ideas, but the real reason his party was so special was because he was surrounded by his family and lots of good friends!  Here are some a plethora of pictures from Charm's big day!  (Warning:   The quality of many of these images is not great, but hopefully you'll still be able to get a sense of all the fun we had on Charm's birthday!  I think next time I'll give all camera responsibilities to my sister:).)

Upon entering our house, we had a table set up with eye patches, pirate hats and bandanas:)!

The shark cake and cookies were made by a local baker:

Lucky and I made these fun and edible pirate marshmallows.  The black faces were drawn using an edible marker that we picked up at Michael's.  

The treasure hunt:
Booty Bags

Treasure Maps

Lucky, Charm, Oma and I made maps using Sharpie markers on natural colored duck cloth that was cut to the size of a standard sheet of paper.  Then we just rolled them up and tied a ribbon around each one.

Our Pirate Ship: Bill and I made a flag pole using a spare finial and some leftover closet rod we had in the garage.  The Jolly Roger flag was purchased here.  The crows are Halloween decorations that I've had for a couple years.

The Plank: We used a couple 6 foot boards we had stained for a different project that didn't work out (more on that some day.).  Bill attached the boards to the crates with more than just the rope seen on top.  He used a drill and screws and washers so we wouldn't have to worry about it coming apart with a child on top.  The three foot swimming pool was $6 from Menards and we grew the green alligators for 72 hours in our garage.  (We bought them at Michael's for $1 each with a sale/coupon and they grew quite a bit from their original 4" size.)

The prize for crossing the plank: alligator cut outs from Michael's.

Buried Treasure=A tub of sand + plastic gold coins, gem rings and beaded necklaces.

'Shark Attack' Photo Op:  We had a piece of eucaboard in our garage that we cut to size: 48" x 64" if you're curious about scale.  Bill created a stand for it in the back using spare wood from the garage.  I had to pick up a couple jars of craft paint from Michael's to paint the shark.

Letter initial prize for getting a picture taken in the shark's mouth.  I purchased unfinished wood plaques from Michael's and painted them.

One large treasure chest at the end of the hunt!  This was really a box from our new patio chairs that just happened to open like a treasure chest.  I wrapped it in brown paper that I picked up at the dollar store and added some rope handles.

Party Fun:

Pirate Uncle D.B. handed out small bags of Pirates Booty:)!

Bill and I bought this treasure chest for Charm.  It was about $22 from Joann's with a coupon and was unfinished.  I stained the chest, and then used polyacrylic to seal it.

Please note:  I wish I could take complete creative credit for the party, but I looked to this , this and this blog post for ideas.  (Also, after seeing the Shark Party Link, I realized I should have just listened to Charm initially and created a shark party....but the pirate party invites had already gone out:).  There's always next year?:))