Saturday, November 22, 2014

Counting Their Savings, the Girls Get Ready for Disney World!

We leave for Disney World on Tuesday morning! We are so ready!

One of the biggest changes we made getting ready for this trip to Disney compared to our first family trip there was that we made the girls earn/save their own spending money!  We told them that we would get them there and feed them, but all other purchases were on them!

And they have done a fantastic job this year saving! I am so proud of them.  Maddie hasn't really worried about it much. She has a job and has money. But Lexi and Kylie are pretty much at our mercy, so they have been more diligent and intentional about their savings.  

So today, just three days out, we were ready to count our money! Doug and I have saved change all year and we plan to use that for the incidentals. It's been fun to watch our change jar grow!

Sidenote: we had all the money bagged up and Lexi and I went to the coinstar machine so that it would count it for us. Both machines in town were broken.  Besides the having to carry the truckload of change in and out of stores for no reason, I'm glad we couldn't use the machines. Counting the money was way more rewarding and tangible. It was hard work! The girls learned how to count of the coins and roll the money. We spent most of the day working on it. I think the machines would have been too much like using a credit card.. not a real transfer of money therefore not a real experience of earning and learning!

Here are the girls ready to count the change. 

The girls sorted and counted and rolled. All of them.

Doug came in and started on his MOUND of pennies!!

Can you believe the coins!

We had to stop 1/2 way through for Doug and Lexi to run to the office supply store and get more penny rolls! Here we are at break time. You can really see just how many pennies we had!

Back at it. 

Kylie couldn't help it. She had to go change into a costume. Here she is with her savings as Anna.

Maddie finished counting hers early and helped Doug and I with ours. 

And here is Doug with our loot.

Ready for the bank!

Total Disney spending money savings for the year for the girls..

Kylie: $84
Lexi: $95.50
Maddie: $78

Doug and I saved $255 in change!

Gotta say, it's pretty fun to watch the girls save for something special and really follow through with it. I love seeing their proud faces and seeing their accomplishments!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Perler Bead Portrait

My advanced art students and I have been talking about creating perler bead portraits. It's taken a while to gather the supplies and figure out the process, but after today, I am SOLD!!

My students haven't started the project, and since I like to know what we are getting into before the students start, I went ahead and created my first perler portrait. I chose this sweet picture of Kylie.

I first had to edit the picture in photoshop. I removed the background, really bumped up the contrast, changed the color mixing and a removed some of the different color tones so that the picture would work as a pattern.

Then I started the pattern process. I tried a dozen different things to make this a pixelled grid piece. Lots and lots of suggestions and processes on google. Then I found I was PUMPED!! This was exactly what I needed!

No further edits were needed and it was easy.

I uploaded my edited photo and it made the grid for me!! WOOHOO!

However, a note for the user... you can print the gridded picture and you can save the snapshot grid, but you can't save the gridded picture. At least I couldn't. When I opened the saved file, it was just the blank grid. But that was okay as I had the project printed.

Another super cool thing about the website is that you can change the color of beads if you don't have all the colors. My portriat here has at least a dozen different color beads... but it is a big piece coming in at 11x14 and 4000 beads!

So here is the project in process.

project grid with plastic plate

get little cups to keep beads in!

lots and lots of beads. don't bump the table!

a few days of on and off again work.

almost complete
When the piece is finished, you use the ironing paper that is provided with the plate. When ironing a piece this size, be CAREFUL and TAKE IT SLOW!

I didn't take it slow enough and had to do a number of repairs mid iron.

fixing the beads that popped out of place while fusing

to repair, pull the paper back and carefully lift the beads back into place.

more ironing. 4000 beads take a while to fuse

The biggest challenge was that as the beads fuse, they pull off the board and leave the nonfused beads left on the pegs. Then the beads don't line up.

After I had gone over the piece a number of times, I got a piece of masonite and flipped the piece over, making sure to sandwich the beads tightly.

Then I took the plastic board away. Here is a close up of what some of the issues were. I carefully flipped the piece back over on the masonite and finished working on it without the peg board.

As I repaired, I  made sure to really, really heat those beads up! You can see that in some areas, the beads fused to little squares instead of circles. Those beads aren't going anywhere!

As the piece cools, the sides curl in. I had to turn mine over and let it cool while I flipped it back and forth to keep it from curling too much.

The completed piece.

Kylie. A perler bead portrait by Emily McLemore

Need a guide for your phone? Here you go!Click Here!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Ear Tubes for a Teenager?

Maddie has a busted eardrum. Again. Third time in 3 months!

Just a little frustrating.

She has missed 14 of the 58 school days so far this year.

A couple of months ago, she saw the ENT and we discussed putting in tubes. But with Maddie's immune system and health history, the doctor was concerned about having to do a follow up surgery later to repair the ear. And what if she is allergic to the tubes?

I've never heard of a 14 year old getting tubes in ears. Have you? What is crazy is that as a baby/toddler, Maddie had what seemed like every other respiratory issue, but she never had ear infections. Now as a teenager, she has recurrent ear infections.

I've started googling recurrent ear infections and treatments and such. I would say that by now I know better, but really, I've just become better at sifting through crap articles. 

So I have a few ideas for the doctor. (They love me..)

In the meantime, we have to get Maddie well. And that's hard enough.  Let me take you through getting meds...

Maddie went to the doctor Wednesday afternoon. Remember, Maddie is allergic to a lot of antibiotics... so in order to get her strong enough meds, the doctor prescribed a drug that not many people get.

Our beloved pharmacist at Walgreens called. They didn't have the drug in stock. He could order it for us and we would have it at 10am Thursday or he would call other pharmacies around town and send us to where they had it. Since I really wanted to get a dose in Maddie that night, he did found some at CVS.

I picked up the meds Wednesday evening. The pharmacist and I had a nice discussion about all of Maddie's allergies to meds and red dye #40. We got home, Maddie opened the bottle and looked in to see CORAL RED pills.

I called the pharmacist. She is very sorry. She put me on hold, does some research, comes back on the phone a little panicked. OMG the pills are RED 40... PLEASE DON'T TOUCH THEM.. She then puts me back on hold... comes back and says she can order the prescription from a different manufacturer and it will be yellow. It will be available after 3pm.


So Thursday afternoon, in the middle of a crazy busy afternoon, I go pick up the new replacement meds and return the unusable meds. The new meds are the same as the old meds. Corporate didn't like the new med choice and CHANGED the order.. so now we have two bottles of RED pills and NO antibiotic that Maddie can take.

The tech apologizes. She says that I can call around and ask other pharmacies in town and see if they have it. I nicely, but I'm sure very frustratedly said that pharmacies don't talk to parents like they talk to other pharmacies and that I didn't even have the prescription!  She said she would call.. but that in the meantime, she could reorder the correct meds and call corporate and explain the allergy.  I said okay, that I didn't really have much of a choice did I. About an hour later, the tech calls. No one in town has the correct medication. We can come by at 2pm on Friday to get the meds.


I knew I should have stuck with Vince and Kaci at Walgreens.

At best, Maddie is going to have one dose of antibiotic in her before being outside for five plus hours in below freezing weather with a busted eardrum at a football playoff game.


Kylie the Kindergartener's Day

Can't imagine life without sweet Kylie Faith! She brings us so much joy each day.

Here is a glimpse at her day.

Kindergarten story writing...
"We work, I work."

"I like summer at the park."

Multiple costume changes are required.

A performance is usually included.

And maybe a little yoga.

All the while, she talks. She has SO much to say EVERY SINGLE DAY!

So finally, at night, when we get her to stop talking... she CRASHES!

Oh how I love this child.

She is growing up too fast! She even has a loose tooth.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

But does it feed my soul?

I've been pondering life a lot lately. This is causing me to wake up early... like today.. 3:17am. The good thing about waking up early is that there is no excuse to not work out. The bad thing is that by 5pm I'm done.

Anyway... back to life pondering.

The fundamental question that I keep coming back to as I question who I am and what I want to be is "does it feed my soul?" This is a hard question for someone like me that is interested in everything and who jumps into every new encounter with both feet before checking to see how deep the water is and if the alligator has his mouth open!

What I am learning, albeit, very slowly, is to stop and ask myself if this is going to feed my soul or am I going to burn out quickly. I have a graveyard full of burned out projects, ideas, activities and dreams. I get frustrated with Lexi for not sticking with things, but I am the same way. It's a part of our personalities. We want to try new things, figure them out, and move on to the next new challenge.

But moving from one challenge to the next is draining. I crave challenging tasks, but I can't do them constantly. I have to do something that refuels me. That's why I love painting, puzzles and playing the piano.

I also crave family time. I gotta have my quality time with Doug and the girls.

So all this to say, what do I do?

I don't know.

But while I'm figuring out life, I sure am thankful that I get to ponder life with my loves!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Better than Carved Pumpkins!

I did not grow up carving pumpkins. I have no sweet memories of pumpkin guts and Halloween tales. I'm not sorry about that. However, I do want my kids to have a frame of reference when others talk about Halloween, so we participate in the fun stuff and explain to our kids why we don't participate in the rest.

Anyway... since I'm not into pumpkin carving, I looked for alternate decorating ideas. 

I ended up with some WINNERS!! 

For Kylie's pumpkin, I sprayed painted a base coat of silver and then gave her paint sticks to play with. I LOVE paint sticks.

Paint sticks (I use Playcolor) are awesome. The paint dries in seconds and blends and is fun with NO MESS!! And the paint sticks last way longer than you would think, so while it seems expensive, it isn't near as pricey as it feels!

After Kylie painted, we put on the BOO bling that I bought at Walmart. The overall effect was great. And except for me having to pull the BOO off the liner, Kylie was able to do the entire project herself.

In fact, next year I'll not prime the pumpkin first. The youngest child at our little pumpkin party at age 3 painted her pumpkin herself and it looked great on the orange!

Next was Lexi's project. I sprayed it with gloss white as it's base coat.

Lexi decided to do melted crayon on her pumpkin. I was leery as I have seen so many melted crayon projects literally fall apart as the crayon pops off the base. But I figured why not.. the pumpkins were only going to be around for a week, so we might as well try it.

I got out my craft heater and we peeled some neon crayons and she was ready to go. 

The only real issue was that the heater sprayed dots of wax all over the kitchen table. I'd put something down to protect the table next time!

Ten minutes later and we were finished!

Two fun pumpkin projects and NO GUTS to clean up!! That is a win!