Thursday, April 29, 2010

Another Bean Activity-Kids Project

My week has flown by! Seriously, I can't believe it's Thursday already. My week has been crazy. Like right now, I'm trying to blog while my kids have surrounded me and are demanding my attention.

They outnumber me.

I told them it will only take me 10 minutes, so let's stop the chattering and get on with the show already!


On and Off Worksheet


How to Play:
1. Determine the number of beans you would like to work with. We chose 6. Write that number on the top.
2. Shake, shake, shake those beans! Have your child drop them on the worksheet, which I like to cut in strips.

3. Write down the numbers of the beans that land ON the sheet under the "on" column and the ones that are OFF under the "off" column.
*What if some of the beans are half way on? I just say that anything that is touching the paper is considered "on".
When you are done, you will have lots of number combinations of that number. You may not have hit all the number combinations, you may get alot of the same. You can discuss and ask, "What combinations did we miss?"Want to extend it? Have them write out the problems on the bottom of the worksheet.
There you go! I think my 10 minutes are up! Have a great day!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Silhouette Growth Chart

With our first child, I had gotten a growth chart made out of paper that didn't last through out our many moves. Wanting to make a growth chart that lasted a bit longer, this is what I came up with.
Let me take you through the process. . .

I couldn't think of how I wanted to do it. I knew that I wanted to make something that would go along with any decor. My hubbie suggested using silhouettes. Remember my post on making silhouettes in Photoshop?

I started with this:

and with Photoshop, turned it into this:

My game plan was print and cut out the silhouettes and trace them onto the board until the hubbies suggested doing this:



1.Open the silhouette into Photoshop
2.Select the image using the magic wand tool.
3.Create a copy.
4.Go into blending options and the Stroke.
5.Stroke makes outlines on your picture. Change the color to black and sized it accordingly
6. Use the paint bucket and dump white into the picture. This will leave an outline.

That alone saved on ink and if he couldn't be anymore wonderful, he showed me an trick he learned at art school.



Using powdered graphite, you can transfer your image. It's very messy, but heck, what isn't messy?

Rub the graphite on the backside of your image.


Lay the paper, graphite down onto the wood. We laid them all out, so we could see how we wanted to organize them.


The next part is to trace with a sharpened pencil.


And tah dah! A perfect replication.


I painted the silhouettes in and this is what I had:

You know how sometimes mistakes can turn out great? Well, the next step was a big mistake and I sure learned what I needed to do next time.

I used gel stain and it ended up staining the entire piece brown because, guess who didn't prime the board beforehand? Me! NOTE TO SELF: Take the time to prime the board especially if it is MDF, that stuff just absorbs.

I decided to paint the background again and the silhouettes were left looking bronze like and the border was left the stained brown.


I kinda liked it. I coated it with polyurethane.


We measured ourselves and the kids. They enjoyed it despite the facial expression on my oldest in the picture. Everyday since, she asks to get measured again, swearing that she has grown an inch.


I'm linking to:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dear Craigslist. . .

Dear Craigslist,

I think I love you. It's true. Ever since I discovered you, I have not been disappointed.


You have so much to offer to the world.

My Father used to say, "One man's junk is another man's treasure." You have made that statement so real and true. How many times have I bought something from someone who was just going to junk it? I made them happy and in return they made me happy. How many times have I used your resources to get rid of my unwanted things?

Countless times.

Happiness is what I feel when I think of you. Sometimes, I want to jump with joy!

Take this new find. . .


I know what you are thinking. Beautiful. And yes, you are right.

I've been wanting one of these babies FOR-EV-ER! And now, since we have the house and space, my dream came true. The best part is that I was able to help someone free up some space.

Okay, who am I kidding. Really, that thought never crossed my mind. Playing basketball with my kids and doing something I love is the reason.


Whatever reason, it is all because of you. Now I can stop wishing my kids would be interested in basketball so I can coach their team and just enjoy playing and teaching them along the way.

And who knows, maybe one of them will fall in love with it and I will end up coaching their team.


I hope our relationship continues strong.

Yours Truly,

Monday, April 19, 2010

Race to a Dollar-Kids Project


We've been playing games around here lately. This game is a great one. It teaches coin recognition, the coin values, and money counting.

There are three columns on the board. In the first, there are ten pennies, the second has ten dimes and the third has a dollar.

1. Player rolls the dice. The amount on the dice is how many pennies you get.
2. The player will then place the pennies on their board (if there are extras that don't fit, just set them aside)
3. Once the player gets 10 pennies, they can trade it in for a dime. I usually make someone the banker and they trade the money in.
4. The object of the game is to get 10 dimes to trade in for a dollar.

by Kathy Wilkins

You can make this easily just on a piece of paper if you want. The concept is the same. The player rolls the dice and exchanges the pennies he gets for nickels, dimes, quarters, and then a dollar!

Here are some other variations that I found online of some race to a dollar games:

Race to a 1.00

Video of Race to a Dollar

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chalkboard Fun


I can't believe these chalkboards are almost 10 years old! I made these for math bags that I sent home when I taught school. I saved these and they have been well loved over the years, can't ya tell?

Lately, while browsing online, I've seen chalkboards used just about everywhere in the home. I began craving one and decided to join the party. I put one in my kitchen for the kids to use as they please. Man, I'm an awesome mom!



I placed the molding up that would frame the chalkboard and traced the inside of it.


After tracing the inside, I gave myself about an inch more when I taped it off. I also taped some scrap paper around the work space.


I don't know if this was the best way to go about it. When using the spray, you need air to ventilate through the area. I was spraying directly on the cupboard, but if I had a thin piece of wood, I could have done it in the garage (a much better place). I also pinned a sheet up, almost like a tent so I wouldn't spray everywhere in the kitchen.



I love it! Chalkboard spray rocks! Thanks to my husband who actually did the spraying because my lungs couldn't handle it.

Did you know there is magnetic chalkboard spray and white board spray? OOoooooo so much fun!

Sunday, April 11, 2010



Since moving to our home, we've been excited to plant a garden. For some reason, I've been preoccupied with other things that I kept forgetting to research gardening. Luckily, my husband has been motivated and researched it for us.

After putting the garden in with the kids, he even bought me a pot and we planted some flowers, and that's all it took for me to get more into it. I am a lover of flowers. I just think they help make the world a beautiful place.


I'm thinking every year I can add a little bit more. Next year, I'd like to work on some landscaping and plant some lilies and other perennial flowers like tulips.


Since the interest has kicked in, I even made a garden sign and some labels.



I looked the other day, and our peas are sprouting. Yippee!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Photoshop Actions

Since I am a self-taught photographer, I kinda learn things by trial and error. My dear husband introduced me to Photoshop and showed me some things and I was hooked. I have since played around with different tools, read some tutorials online (which by the way, you can learn anything online!), and just practiced. I've loved processing my pictures in Photoshop and now I love it even more!

I came across this and I absolutely love it! Pioneer Women has 2 sets of Photoshop actions that you can download. It makes processing pictures a breeze.


Once you download, you will have an actions menu in Photoshop where you can choose different effects.

Wanna see?

A SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera). . .

Using the fresh and colorful button:




Soft and Faded:


Vintage Blur:

Lovely and Ethereal:


They also have buttons like, boost, sharpen, lighten etc. For each picture, you have to adjust settings that are right for your photo. They are great, but they shouldn't stop you from learning how to do it yourself in Photoshop. You don't want it to be your crutch.

Have you ever thought about doing something backwards? When I was in school doing math and there was a problem I couldn't figure out, I would look up the answer in the back of the book and worked backwords to see how the problem was solved.

That's how I think about these Photoshop actions. I've learned alot already.

I love learning. Don't you?