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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Owen’s music class

We have been doing classes a the Champaign School of Music for awhile off and on.  Their Music Together classes are fun for little ones. We’ve decided to let the kids do ONE activity per season for right now. I don’t think there’s reason for them to do more than that, especially as I know it’s going to just get more crazy as they get older. For this spring/summer, we threw out all kinds of sports option to Owen – tball, soccer, swimming lessons, martial arts, etc. Nothing. Refused every one. So I started looking into other things for him and we found the Music Explorers class at CSM. It’s a 45 minute class where they learn the very basics beginning skills on piano (keyboards) and ukulele. He got to pick out a ukulele (red was his choice) and got all his books on the first night of class. He was in love.IMG_5370They spend the first 5-10 minutes singing a welcome song and things like that.  Then they practice the ukulele with Mr. Luke. This includes things like learning the string names, how to hold the ukulele, how to pluck the right string, etc.IMG_5225Then, they get to do piano with Ms. Danielle.  Basic key recognition, learning soft and quiet, very simple songs, etc.IMG_5223 IMG_5222I will say that I’m not sure the instructors have had a ton of experience teaching small children and there’s been at least one child with some behavior issues in both of his sessions.  And the price is a little steep.  Buuuuttt the child loves it and refuses to try anything else. So we’re going to keep going for awhile. Now if I could just get him to practice. ;)


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

DIY Circus Marquee Sign

I cannot wait to give you a full rundown of the amazing party we threw to celebrate my 5,3,1 kiddos. But before the full show of pictures, I have to share a few of my favorite projects from the party. Has anyone noticed that these circus marquee letters are everywhere in decor these days? I’ve seen them in so many stores, from Hobby Lobby to Target.
I knew I HAD to have these but when I started hunting around, the lowest price I was seeing was still upwards of $15 for EACH letter. Yeah, not going to happen. So I did what any good crafter would do and started scouring Pinterest for good ways to make them on the cheap. I found a few blogs out there (here and here) but the costs were still a bit high using the paper mache letters or wood. Then I started finding a few that used cardboard. (here) Bingo. My kind of price.
So here’s what you need:
  1. 2-3 sheets of posterboard in the color you want
  2. 2 sheets of foam board (walmart even carries it).  Great if it’s in the color you need, but just paint it if it’s not.
  3. acrylic paint (see above)
  4. hot glue gun
  5. something sharp like a pencil to create the holes
  6. 1 string of Christmas lights (I used a 150 light strand I think)
Step 1
Some people can freehand letters. Not this girl. I used my Silhouette software to print out large letters over 4 sheets of paper. You can also do this in excel or photoshop. I used the free font Budmo found here and used text size 1500. Print the parts of the large letter, cut them out and tape them together.  Then trace them onto your foam board and cut those out. I needed to use an exacto knife to cut through the foam board.
11134147_802940633094040_2304935427416357110_n Step 2
If your foam board is not the color you want it to be, paint it.  Mine was yellow on one side and white on the other and I needed it to be red. So a little thing of acrylic paint and 2 coats later, and it was red. You don’t need to worry about painting the sides of the boards, just the top. A word of warning, I bought 2 kinds of foam board, one from Walmart and one from the Dollar Tree. The Dollar Tree one was much thinner and actually curled a little bit after the paint dried. I didn’t really care as I wasn’t going for perfect, but you might be happier with the thicker foam board from Wally World or your local craft store.
Step 3
Poke the holes for the lights. Now there are tons of cool strands of lights out there that look much more like marquee lights. And if I was using these letters for room decor or something for the long haul, I would have splurged. A friend even offered to loan me the lights hanging above their patio (thanks Laura). But 2 hour party folks. A free strand of Christmas lights from the basement tub worked just fine.  I started the lights at the top of one letter and poked a hole just a little shorter than the distance between the 2 bulbs on the string. You’re not leaving the lights in the holes yet, just poking the holes.
Step 4
Cut your posterboard into 2” long strips. I used almost 2 full sheets of posterboard for my 6 marquee letters.
Step 5
Heat up your trusty glue gun. Then slowly, very slowly, put a line of hot glue on the edge of the foam board in 1-2” increments.  Line up a strip of posterboard with the bottom the foam board and press to attach.  Does that make sense?  IMG_5388Continue around the edge of the letter and around the inside. It will take a bit of finagling on the small inside spaces of some of the letters, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be. I found that on the large curved letters, it helped to use 2 smaller strips instead of one long one to get a best fit and without it getting weird and bendy.IMG_5389 IMG_5390 Step 6
Now that you have all your letters done, all you have to do it insert your string of lights in the back.  They fit pretty snug in the holes, but I did add some painter’s tape along to secure it. Sorry I didn’t take any pictures of this step.  When I was done, all the letters were strung together and now had to be moved as a group. Here’s a picture with the lights in focus, not the letters.
Step 7
Then you just need to have someone else hang it for you. haha. I simply put some command strips on the back and hung them from the overhang on our patio.

I was pretty impressed that they even survived an hour of good rain. We took them down so they could live in our basement now! Definitely added just the amount of pop I wanted for the party. And not bad for under $5!
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Monday, June 15, 2015

knock knock

Anybody there?

Is it weird I almost started crying as I sat down to write? It’s like seeing an old friend who you haven’t seen in years. So much has happened. Where do you start? And yet, it feels like no time has passed and the friendship just carries on. Or at least I hope that’s how you feel about my little place in the blog land. I’m hoping you won’t mind that I took some time off.

I thought I’d be ok just closing down the blogging chapter of my life. It’s easier just LIVING with 3 kids instead of always writing about how we’re living.

But I cannot even count the number of times in my head I’ve said “wow, I should blog about this.” I’ve missed the outlet this little site has given me to share what God’s doing in our lives, how awesome I think my little family is, and the ways that I’ve been using the creative bent that God’s given me.

I’ve missed you my dear friend. So glad to be back.

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