Saturday, August 30, 2014

Pool Noddle Ideas and Pallet Waterwall

We have so many pool noodles around these days, most of them left over from birthday parties. For some reason, pool noodles make me so happy, not sure why, maybe it's because you can do so many different things and be very imaginative with them. We even have one under the carseat in my car!

Here's what I did recently, that kept my little guy busy for a while!

The pile of noodles that I used:

I shaped each noodle into an arch and secured them between the couch, the ottoman, and an end table:

Covered them with a sheet and blanket:

Here's what it looked like inside:

 And little man going through and exploring his space:

Then, we've also completed our pallet waterwall. Using a picture my sister-in-law sent me for inspiration, I got to instructing the husband.

My husband brought home a pallet from work and inserted small pieces of wood into each of the spaces.

Here's what it looked like when he was done putting wood into each gap. I didn't realize pallet wood is so hard; it's hard to nail in nail!

I had started saving various bottles and containers a while ago, even before we started building the wall. So many containers that my husband started asking me what I was doing with them and when this project was going to happen!

The husband helped me secure a few of the pieces to the wall, cutting off the bottom so water could spill into the next one. In others, we drilled a couple of holes so water could go out of a couple places into others.

Then I got to worked attaching the rest of the bottles, creating various paths water could flow into one another. At the top of the pallet, we attached a Y hose spigot with a manual shut off, so our garden hose could attached to the back of it and two mini hoses (the yellow and blue things in the pictures below) could be clamped on to each spigot.

These mini hoses really are the best thing about the wall, it's way more fun having constant water flowing out that kids can control vs. pouring water in manually.

Then voila! Look how much fun those two are having!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bonnie and Clyde Wedding Party Theme

My cousin was recently married and though I should have clued in on the theme of the wedding from their wedding invitation, it didn't actually hit me until the groom walked down the aisle in handcuffs with his groomsmen escorting him down armed with guns.

The family did a great job with all the small details from the matchboxes to the cuff links. I also loved their cake topper! Take a look:

 These went really quick, maybe because they were outside!

 Mmmm, the Porch Punch was really good!

Look closely at the cake topper, goes well with their theme!

Head table:

 Yes, his cuff links were bullets.

 And used as his tie pin.

Shot gun shell held his boutonniere.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Raffi Birthday Party Ideas

My son's 2nd birthday party was a guitar and Raffi theme. We even had the invitations made with a "Come Shake Your Sillies Out" language.

I was surprised that I didn't find too many ideas on-line or Pinterest, so most were my own. HOWEVER and that's a big however, the decorations for his party turned out to not be my finest projects or best projects for sure.

The attempt and ideas were there, but the execution just didn't come out the way I'd hoped. From the song, "Shake my Sillies Out," I took some of the lyrics and made a sign that said, "Wibble Our Wobbles Away, Adult Drinks! Anyone wobbling at the End of the Party Has to Stay!" However, after the party, I realized I didn't know the true lyrics and it's really wiggle our waggles away. Ha oops!

Drink station, I tried to make my own version of a John Daly, which is similar to an Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade), just with alcohol. I thought it tasted pretty good!

A couple of weeks ago, my mom sent me an email with a link to a cake shaped like a guitar. My first reaction was, "That's too much work, she doesn't need to do that." Of course, as the party approached, it thought it would be fun and my mom was still up for the challenge.

The only issue was an oven as she still hasn't bought one (it went out in September), so my oven was needed. My mom came over Thursday before the party and she and I got on the computer to find some cake recipes. She decided a paleo coconut sounded good (it was a lot like a recipe she used to make, but couldn't find the recipe card) and a banana spice. Thursday night we worked together baking the cakes at my house. Then on Saturday the cake was decorated; the guitar cake turned out so cute and both tasted heavenly!

Also on the table, are some color copies of book pages and books that are made from Raffi's song lyrics like Down By the Bay and Shake Your Sillies Out.

I tried making banana phone desserts (another Raffi song), but they looked pretty silly. Shortcake was filled with strawberry filling and topped with whipped cream, a banana Runt, and yellow pipe cleaners to look like the receiver of a phone. It's a stretch I know...

The picture I don't have is the giant sun I tried to create out of yellow balloons and a blow up sun that I found at the Dollar Store. Yellow streamers hung around the pergola, all connecting into the yellow balloons to create the Mr. Golden Sun, from the song "Oh, Mr. Golden Sun."

The sign on the front door I created a large guitar with guitar strings made of string and next to the large guitar also was a sign with some of the lyrics to the song, "Something in my Shoe."

Of course we had Raffi music playing over the outdoor speakers all through the party. Another decoration I created was I drew a large whale on a piece of foam core, then hung a large sign next to it that said, "Baby Beluga."

Like I said, not great, but at least might give you a few ideas on what you can do for a Raffi themed party!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Backyard Fort with Bridge

We have this funny cement pad in our backyard; I have no idea what it is or was for. It's pretty out of the way, but it does pose a slight hazard as there isn't a barrier around it and it drops straight down (about four feet) to the lower part of our yard. It'd be pretty brutal if a kid fell as the cement wall down is pretty rough too.

I've dreamed for a while that it would be fun to somehow attached a slide to the cement pad, maybe even one that rounds to the left, so kids can go up our yard stairs to the top of the slide and slide down. After searching on-line I realized, slides are expensive!

I had shared my dreams with the hubby and one day he came home and mentioned that this odd house off a main street (where you can also drop your old appliances off) had a wood fort (completely taken apart) play structure complete with swings and a slide for sale for $75. He wasn't sure what sort of shape it was in, but I told him the slide alone was worth more than that, so it'd be worth trying.

Somehow my husband got all the pieces back to our house and began assembling it. Good thing he's mechanically inclined as the only instructions we were given were in French!

What also showed me that "you get what you pay for" was the entire thing needed a good pressure washing, scrubbing, and probably needs to eventually be stained. My man got the section with the ladder, slide, and canvas roof set up, and discussed with me where in the yard the entire play structure could go permanently. This conversation was easier said than done as the place I suggested, the hubs told me that is where his shed will go. I pushed several times, but he wasn't budging, so I knew I needed a new idea.

My little one was having a blast playing in just this section of the play structure, even without the swings and the monkey bars. Somehow I got to thinking about if we just used the slide, ladder, and roof section and not the monkey bars and swings section, and turned it just so, it would fit in the back corner of our yard next to the cement pad (this coming from someone who doesn't see objects in a 3D way). Then my husband could build a small bridge from the cement pad right onto the platform of the fort. It would be so fun for kids to have a space that seemed hidden from the adults!

The other benefit is we haven't been able to get anything to grow in this back corner and it's really a neglected space of the yard. It's too hard to water to keep grass there or really any living trees or shrubs. I once suggested to the husband to build a stacked raised garden bed, but that didn't interest him at all, so he was on board with this idea!

My burly husband got to digging holes, cementing in 4x4 pressure treated wood posts and cut off the entire top section of the fort.

He needed me to assist a little when it came to attaching the top of the fort to the new bases, so I did my best to hold everything level enough for him.

Here is the space from the cement pad to the platform of the fort before Evan built a bridge. Looks a little scary doesn't it?

We purchased big bark chips and spread them all under the fort. Then he built the bridge (of course using old fence wood), so now it just needs a small screen or hand rail for the side of the bridge, and it's ready to go!

It's been a big hit already and of course I have more ideas for a lever and pulley system to haul up treasures in a bucket from the ground to the platform, I want to screen off two of the walls under the fort that will protect kids from the cement wall and so they won't climb up the red rock filler on the side, but for now, it's usable!