Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I can't believe this is all over with for this year. Summer is gone. :(

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pumpkin Totem Pole

The other night I had some major insomnia, so as I lay there in bed, I was trying to think of what kind of decoration I could make for Halloween that would show off the personality of all of us in our family.  And then it hit me .... A TOTEM POLE!
I went cheap, using mostly the supplies on hand, or things from the Dollar Tree.  In the end, though, I think it turned out sooooo adorable!
So here is my tutorial on how to make your own!

Supplies needed:
Carvable Pumpkins from Dollar Tree
3.5 foot piece of wood.  I used an old 2x4 that had seen MANY better days.
1/2 yard of Burlap
1 button
Hot glue

These are the pumpkins you will want to pick up at the Dollar Tree.  I'm sure you could find something similar at other places.  I'm cheap, though, so I got mine there.  I purchased 3 of them.

Cut them down the center, right through the stalk.  This is what they look like after you've cut them.

Now decorate them however you want to.  I used sharpies and paint to decorate mine.  Since I ended up with 6 1/2 pumpkins, and we only have 5 people in our family, I used the 6th one to write Trick or Treat and put some spiders and webs on it.

See my spider!

Here they are all finished.  I painted one of them like a tiger for Adrian.  The second in is Jack Skellington for my husband.  Third in is the Trick Or Treat one.  Bottom row, first on the left is a robot pumpkin for Timmy.  Second in is a Vampire pumpkin for Niko.  And last is a Sugar Skull pumpkin for me.
Now you need to get your piece of wood out.  It doesn't really matter what it looks like, because you will be covering it with burlap.

Use your hot glue gun to hold the burlap down.  I ended up "wrapping" it like a present.  It made for nice end pieces that way. 

Here it is, ready to have the pumpkins attached!

I tried to show you in this picture how I put hot glue right on the inside of the stem and a little over the top, as well as the bottom.  Then I placed the pumpkin onto the burlap covered wood in the order I wanted them. 

I did end up making a little bow with some dollar store ribbon for the top.  Just used orange, lime green, and brown ribbons to do that, and put an orange button in the center of the bow. (To hid the glue from the glue gun! LOL)

Final piece!   I love it!  You'll want to put a hanging thing on the back so you can hang this up in your home, or perhaps lean it up in the corner.  Did you notice that I am low man on the totem pole here?  LOL


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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Breakfast & Dinner Placemats

I read a really inspiring post over at Moore Minutes about manners. You really should go read it. In the post she spoke of having her boys set the table, and using placemats for them to remember where everything went. I thought this was a really great idea, and definitely wanted to do similar placemats up for the boys.
Then I was over at Family Fun Magazine's website (you all already know I love them!), and saw this great article about a morning checklist placemat!  Well I wanted one of those for the boys, too!
I decided to combine the two and make these.  They aren't super grand, but my boys love them.
For breakfast - I wanted to not only have a checklist for the boys to use in the morning, but a little something for them to do while eating breakfast if they wanted to.  Having 2 boys in OT, because of poor muscle control, having them print and write their names is always a good thing.  I wanted them to be a little fun, and be a little educational.
For the dinner side, I used some scrapbooking paper in a design that suited them, and just cut out place setting shapes and used them.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Camping at Allegany State Park

I realized I never posted about our awesome camping trip to Allegany State Park! It was soooo much fun. We rented a cabin for a week, along side my friend, my cousins, and my parents. We all had a blast! :)

Allegany State Park isn't far from us.  I grew up going there all the time.  We'd go for picnics, for a swim in the lake, for fishing, and more.  I remember watching old Disney movies at the amphitheater and feeding the raccoons cheese puffs.  ASP has been part of my life since I can remember.  I really wanted our boys to see the absolute fun you can have in such a beautiful and natural place.

We went on some of the scheduled hikes that the park has during the week.  A beaver dam, a creek exploration where they learned about all the living creatures in the water, and an awesome hike where they learned what plants are good for you, and bad for you, that there used to be a zoo in the woods, and there was even a ski jump!

We also took trips to some of our favorite places in the park, like Thunder Rocks and the Stone Tower.

But mostly, we hung out with our family and friends around the campfire.  We cooked big meals together and let the kids run wild through the creek and just have fun.  We did some awesome crafts like tie dying, bookmarks, necklaces, and more.

We went to the Hootenanny that is on every Thursday night in the park.  It is tons of fun and is run by my old gym teacher from grade school!  She is a great lady with tons of energy.  And holy cow, she's been doing the Hootenanny for 40 years!  WOW!  Read all about Sally Marsh and the Hootenanny here!

On Sunday when we packed up and left in the morning, instead of going right now, we drove over to the Red House area of the park (our cabin was in the Quaker area), and ate breakfast at the administrative building.  This building is old and gorgeous.  They have a little museum in there, a great gift shop ... and upstairs they have a restaurant.  It was a breakfast buffet with lots of tasty items, and the price was INCREDIBLY cheap.  Definitely nice to not have to worry about making breakfast the morning you are leaving (since you will be spending so much time packing everything).

Check out Allegany State Park on facebook, and come visit this awesome park some time if you get the chance.  So many people only think of NY as NYC, but NY state has some of the most beautiful state lands of anywhere!

Oh .. and this is not a sponsored or paid for blog post.  LOL, this is just me gushing over one of our local treasures.

And to show you ... here are some pictures.

Here is our cabin, with lots of family and friends gathered in front of it, chatting.

Poor Sashi was not a fan of camping.  She was cold and miserable.  This is how she spent most of her week ... all tucked up in my jacket.

Adrian, and my cousin's son, Kalen, hanging out in the creek.

The view from our front porch.  Yes, it was gorgeous.  And yes, the boys LOVED it.  They spent hours and hours exploring the creek, looking for crayfish, building dams, and swimming in the one spot that was deep enough for them to.

My absolute favorite picture of the entire vacation.

Adrian jumping into the creek in the one "deep" spot.  Standing, it came to his chest.

We went on a little hike with one of the rangers and saw an awesome beaver family and their dam.

BFFs!  My cousin's son, Kalen, our Adrian, and my nephew, Vinny.

The only family photo we ended up getting all week.  We're at Thunder Rocks here.  It is an awesome place to visit while in the park!

Someone had graffitied this "man" onto a rock at Thunder Rocks.  We used it as a great photo prop!

The inside of our cabin had these two shelving units, a cooking stove/oven, a woodstove, 2 sets of bunkbeds, and 2 cots.  I tried to keep things kind of organized in the cabin.  We tried living out of our bags the first day, but the kids would strew their clothes everywhere when they were in a hurry to change, so giving each boy a shelf seemed to really help things out a LOT.

Make sure to keep all your food IN your cabin.  The raccoons and bears have no problem coming up onto your porch at night and taking whatever they want out of your coolers.

Daddy helping the boys build a dam.

Some of the tie dying we did while there.

And another set of tie dying we did.

Eek!  We had a visitor in the night.  This was a HUGE bear print.

Campfire coffee!

We made the boys bookmarks, using things they found in the park!

The back of the bookmark.

Ahhh... and the SUPER long hike that we went on with one of the rangers.  They took us up and over hills and to the remains of an old zoo.  This was the snake pit!

This was the bear cave at the zoo.

Kids + glow sticks = awesomeness.

Campfire kiddos.  Singing songs, eating munchies, spending quality family time together.

Every Thursday they have a Hootenanny!  The kids LOVED this.

Jump! Jump! Jump!

The boys on top of The Stone Tower.  Look at that beautiful view behind them!  They are all wearing their new Allegany State Park Tshirts too!

How to make a gluten free s'more!  Use gluten free rice krispie treats (made ahead of time), slice it and place the marshmallow and chocolate between the slices! 

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