Wednesday, August 29, 2012

DIY Corn Hole Boards

Another project we did this summer was to build three sets or six corn hole boards.  Rob wanted two sets, so people could play simultaneously, as we often entertain large groups.  The third set was for a rental property for guests to enjoy.
Rob found the directions here.  And of course, his sidekick couldn't be any happier.  All you have to say is the word, "build," and he is ready with boots and a hammer.
Because he built so many, this took the good part of a day!  With a gravel driveway, this small square of cement is the only flat spot to build, and is right at my front door.
My job was to sew a million, or so it seemed, of these bags with corn perfectly measured out and weighed.  After the first few tosses and with corn going everywhere, we decided to take them to a friend to sew!
If you haven't played corn hole, it is a super fun game.  The kids love it and it seems to help with hand and eye coordination.  We played for hours with our family, and with so many of us, we were glad we had two games going at once!  Here are the rules.

For my TPL friend in Pickens who inquired about the decal:
 Rob took the state signature 'Palmetto and Moon' to a friend who runs Double "B" Graphix here in our town.  She was able to enlarge and make into a decal.  If you would like this, click on the site and give her a call.  She has made a few for my sister, too!    Rob and Mason painted the boards with some leftover paint; added the decal and sealed the entire board.
Here are some of my favorites found on Pinterest (here!)
Being crafty enough not only to paint the corn hole boards but to make them too. TSM.


How cute for a wedding or anniversary!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Monday, August 27, 2012

A 'By the River' Bench

 Building a bench was a family project this summer.
 Our house is situated on a peninsula.  On one side, there is a little beach.  This is the spot I bring our dog Drayton to do his morning laps to deplete some of the Labrador puppy energy.  The ducks are fleeing a potential capture.
 Since this is part of our daily routine, I wanted a bench to rest while Drayton swims.  Drayton and I have been walking the kids to school (or rather, he drags me) and then coming to this little spot.
 This is certainly a crew of DIYers.
 Rob found some plans on-line.  Search "how to build a bench," and you will find many different styles. 
Now, all we need to do is seal the wood, so it will last for many years.
This is a great spot to sit under the shade of the River Birches and sip something warm! 
Not interested in building your own?  Here are some great looking benches!  The 'Softcross 2-Seater Outdoor Garden Bench' is one of my favorites and is reasonably priced!

I hope you all are having a great start to the new school year!
Thanks for stopping by!

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Farewell my Beloved Summer

The kids ride high at the Navy Pier in Chicago, Il. 
I love summer, because I love having fun with my kids.  This summer was full of travel and learning and of course, fun!
We learned more about other cultures and people than we did about animals at The Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.  A large group of Amish people from Idaho intrigued us all.  While dressed in the typical Amish attire, this group seemed to embrace the modern world.  I wasn't sure if approaching them would be offensive, so I found one of the elderly ladies of the group and asked a few questions.  I asked if she would explain their lifestyle and religious beliefs, so my children could appreciate that people live differently and are all unique.  She graciously did so and we gleaned much about this unique way of life.  We ran into them again at the American Girl store!
A beautiful image of Chicago from the top of the Ferris Wheel at the Navy Pier
Speaking of culture...One thing we were not prepared to teach our children about was the 'Bare if You Dare' bike ride around Chicago.  This event brings in thousands of people who sport nothing but their bikes!  One evening, we were walking back to our hotel and here comes the roar; the roar of thousands of nude bicycle riders coming up behind us!  The only thing to do was face the brick building until they passed.  This was certainly more 'culture' than I wanted my young kids to see!  Ahhh...the big city.  It too, was another 'teaching' opportunity.
 'Sue,' one of the largest intact dinosaur fossils ever found was fascinating at the Field Museum.   If you are traveling with kids, make time to visit the museums.  Wear comfortable shoes and plan to stay all day!
Our favorite museum was the Field and Science Museum.  The story about the capturing of this German U-boat during WWII is unbelievable.  I could not listen or read enough about it!  We also toured the Art Institute of Chicago (another favorite of mine), the Shedd Aquarium, and Millennium Park which hosted the Blues Jazz Festival.
 Here my baby stand 1,353 feet in the air, 103 stories above the ground on the sky deck at the Willis (Sears) tower in Chicago.  It scares me just looking at the picture!
We made our visit to the American Girl store.  This is the one toy the girls packed for the trip, their dolls, so it was high on their list of things to do.
Just down the street from the American Girl store, was the Fourth Presbyterian Church.  A beautiful Gothic Revival style building with lots of history.  Most importantly, the children's grandparents were married here 45 plus years ago!  What a beautiful place to get married.  There were many homeless people sleeping in the church, and I was glad to see they left the doors open, for them to come in and find a safe place to rest.
 Returning from Chicago, brought some cherished time with my sisters and their families.  Rob built the corn hole boards and we played over and over and over...
 Lake fun...
...and my husband showing off like he is 22 instead of 42 (oops, 43.)
 Summer brought horse camp for the girls...
...and quiet days of 'Paint by Numbers.'
 Late June brought time in the mountains of North Carolina with family.  About ten degrees cooler, it was a nice reprieve from the thick heat.  Roasting hot dogs...
...eating S'mores
 ...falling in the creek and warming up with a roasted, sticky marshmallow.
 ...and telling scary ghost stories.
As June rolled into July, we spent time on the lake tubing...
 ...and canoeing with friends.
Riding horses with our buddies...
...and the girls playing dress-up. 
The most bizarre thing that happened this summer (besides the nude bicyclists), was our lab puppy, while trying to 'play' with a muskrat, got attacked and had to go to the emergency room (for pets!)  Here my son (and husband) hunt down Mr. Muskrat.  Poor muskrat...he is no longer with us.
How that muskrat managed to slash Drayton's tongue, we will never know. Twenty-two stitches later, he is doing great and back in the water again...searching for a new playmate.
 We made our way to Charleston, SC and the older kids took up skim boarding.
Which made me happy, because I am not a fan of them swimming in the ocean...dudunt, dudunt, dudunt...(I have been watching too much 'Shark Week.')
 Rob and his brother had no problem feeding them to the sharks.
They tossed them high into the air to do flips and land right in the shark's mouth.  Did anybody see the video of the shark jumping out of the marsh and grabbing that fish off a fishing pole in Myrtle Beach? Yeah, just up the way.
While in Charleston, we went to see the Hunley, the first combat submarine to sink an enemy warship.  From the U-Boat to the Hunley, my son is now fascinated by submarines.
 We spent lazy days at the park to avoid the TV...
and had many picnics in the morning.
 In late July, we drove north to Caswell Beach, North Carolina and spent time with Rob's family.  This year, Rob put together the treasure hunt with clues for the kids to find the lost loot.
Arg...this is the wrong spot.
 the treasure box!
 Can you tell where Brooke hid her loot?
 It was no surprise that a movie was being filmed here.  Southport, NC is such a quaint town.  I was super excited to get to see it all unfold and all the lights, camera, action!
Here I am spying on the lovely Julianne Hough and the cute Josh Duhamel as they film for the movie, 'Safe Haven.'  She is on the bike and he is in the red plaid button down.  This was as close as I could get without getting arrested.
Even our favorite restaurant got a makeover for the movie.  It usually sports a large copper swordfish.  Look for this when the movie comes out next February!  Too bad the call for 'extras' was not until the next week or you might have seen me sashaying in the parade scene.
We left the beaches of NC, and headed for the mountains of NC to Asheville to see the largest home in America.  My family is just to the right of the door in front of the Lion.  It is HUGE.  To keep my children's attention while we toured, I asked them to pick which room they would hide in for hide-and-go-seek if they lived here.  Can you imagine? 
 We left Asheville, drove through Knoxville and stopped in Nashville for a few nights.
 We toured the Country Music Hall of Fame, which I loved!  My kids were excited (at least the girls) because it had a special exhibit of Taylor Swift and her stage props and dresses.
That night we went to the Grand Ole Opry...
and heard Wynonna Judd sing 'How Great Thou Art' a capella with a back-up quartet.  It was amazing.  Vince Gill, The Band Perry and others followed.  What a line-up for a Tuesday night!
After our trip to Nashville, we drove to Memphis to see my sister and her family.  The kids and cousin Davis stand in front of the ducks at The Peabody Hotel.  The ducks are swimming in the fountain just behind them.
 We drove by the famous Beale Street...
...and the place where Martin Luther King was shot.  We also drove by Graceland and the massive Fed- Ex facility where my brother-in-law flies a big 'ol plane and instructs others to fly big planes.  It is impressive and so is the story behind the man who built the Fed Ex empire.
After our sweet visit with my sister, we returned home with one week left before school.  I asked the children to pick one fun activity we could do before school started.  They picked ice-skating.
This last hurrah before school did not turn out so well for my sports enthusiast.  She fell and cracked her elbow.  Ouch.
 It didn't stop her from hiking and camping.
The weekend before school started, friends invited us to go camping at Table Rock in the mountains of South Carolina.  I just love being away from the swirl of the world and having good, simple fun.  Plus, the state parks seem like a throw-back in time.  I love that!  We had a light rain all night while tucked in our tents, which intensified the adventure.  The next night, we stayed in a fancy hotel in Greenville, SC.  It was a good thing, because 40 mph winds came through the area, which would have surely blown our tents and us away!
Last year, I was so sad to say good-bye to 'Summer.'  The next time I would see 'her', my children would be another year older.  And here they are; another year older.  It is something I can't escape.  They will grow and spread their wings, whether I like it or not.

This year, I am trying to reflect on the fun times and great memories of summer instead of how sad it is to see another year pass.  I look at my children's faces and try to remember their 10 year old, 9 year old and 6 year old smiles of summer with sun-drenched cheeks.  I try to memorize their freckles, long eyelashes and crooked teeth, yet to be covered with metal flashing.  I know that my role as mom is changing.  I am no longer a mother to toddlers.  I have to grow through this too and know that it is my job to help them spread their wings; teaching them everything I can.

I loved watching their expressions this summer as we traveled and learned so many new things.  The beauty of children is that we get to experience the wonder of 'life' all over again through their eyes.  Some things we learned weren't so pleasant.  Some days we were grumpy and fighting and didn't want to learn anything.  Some days we were couch potatoes and some days we were bored.  But, these are all a part of life's lessons, too.  'Life' really is an education.  I like to think my kids are in public school, home schooled and world schooled.  Everywhere is a classroom, and I can only hope my children have a thirst for knowledge and wisdom all of their lives.

This post explains my infrequent blog posts for the summer!  Now, that school has started, I have so many projects to do!

Thanks for bidding 'farewell' to summer with me,
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