Gorgeous weather apparently leads to productivity

Our little family has produced many things today.

It started this morning, when I was up with Kent and letting Jack sleep in. I looked at the big cardboard box in our living room, the delivery method for Kent's rocking horse from GranDebbie, which we finally put together last week. I thought about breaking down the box and sticking it in the recycling bin. Then I thought, "Wait a minute, there are about a hundred fun things we could do with a big cardboard box. And I may not be great with tools, but I know how to use a box cutter."

Et voilà! A tunnel! I cut big tunnel shapes out of the smaller ends so that it's a long tunnel. I sketched and then cut a star out of one of the remaining sides and a triangle and square out of the opposite side. I then cut a circle out of the top for Kent to pop his head through. Jack was surprised and very impressed when he woke up and found this in the living room, and Kent has been playing with it all day.

So have other members of the family.

Something I've learned about my husband after six years of marriage is this: never underestimate Jack's ability to do something ridiculous with something I've created.

After church and lunch, we took our party outside for some painting. Painting outside with Kent has to be one of this spring's greatest pleasures. When it's too hot this summer (or, you know, next month), I'll probably move my car out from under the carport when we want to paint, and we can work under there to get some relief from The Sun.

Today's painting project was a test run for our Easter craft day next month. One of our playgroup's members spotted some cheap papier-mâché eggs at Hobby Lobby, so I bought two small eggs and two medium eggs to see what Kent and I could come up with (this photo shows a medium egg, which cost 67 cents). I mixed some pastel shades in paper bowls with our awesome BioColor paint. Then I handed Kent some brushes and had to convince him to put paint on the egg instead of on the paper towels on the table in front of him.

If truth be told, I had to help him with this one a little more than I usually like to. I enjoy seeing what he'll come up with, but for this project, I knew we'd need to get color all over the egg so that it wouldn't just be white with a couple of yellow and pink blobs, which is what it would have been if I hadn't intervened. I helped him get more color on his egg, and then I had an inspiration to roll the partly-painted egg on a paper towel so that the colors would get mottled and blend together. It worked so well! He liked rolling the eggs around, even though it was a little hard for him. With the last egg, I started to help him with the color on it as I had done with the others, but then he took over and dropped the egg down in the bowl of paint. The colors mixed. I realized what was happening, so I encouraged it, and together, he and I put the egg in different bowls and rolled it around to mix the colors. It worked just as well as the paper-towel method, though the egg was more saturated with color and less texturized, and therefore took longer to dry.

The project was definitely a success. The eggs start out brown, so I painted one as it was and painted the other three of them white first, hoping that I could see if that made a difference with how they took the color. The egg at the bottom left of this photo is the one that I left brown rather than painting white ahead of time, and I think the colors are a bit less vibrant, so I'll definitely paint all of the kids' eggs white before they arrive. I think we'll try both the paper-towel method and the dip-in-the-bowl method with the kids in a couple of weeks and see what happens. The top right egg is the last one we painted, using the dip-in-the-bowl method, and now I can't tell much difference when I look at it compared to the others. A few of these would make a great Easter centerpiece or a fun little gift basket with some chocolate and processed sugary things.

Final project of the day: my plant table! This one requires a bit of backstory. When we first moved into our apartment in Philly (almost 7 years ago), the apartment people had left us a cutting board. It was unfinished wood, not bad, but not the best cutting board. We used it for a couple of years until one day Jack was holding it by one end, and the pieces all slid apart and fell onto the floor. One of them got a big crack in the middle. We replaced it right away with a bamboo cutting board, which I love and use all the time. For another 3 years or so, we had this half-broken cutting board sitting in a corner of our house that we were never sure what to do with.

Last spring/summer, it hit me. It could be the top of a cute little plant table that would sit outside. It wouldn't matter that it was unfinished wood with a big crack in it, and I figured it would be a cinch for Jack to screw some legs onto it with pieces of a 2 x 4. We had a couple of scrap 2 x 4s, so I had him cut them into four equal pieces of the right length to make table legs. He glued the top back together using his fancy clamps, and then I spray painted all of the pieces royal blue. I've seen weathered plant tables and outdoor chairs painted with bright colors, so I figured the blue would look cool as it aged.

Then, the pieces sat in our outdoor closet all summer, all fall, and all winter. Every few weeks, Jack would say, "Maybe I'll finally make your table this weekend," but then a dozen things would come up that we wanted to do instead. This is basically how our weekends go, which is why our house and yard are never quite as neat as we'd like them to be. Anyway, I hold no grudges that the pieces were sitting around, but I was excited that I'd someday have a table for my potted plants besides the horrid little green plastic table they had been living on.

Now that the very long backstory is out of the way, I'm happy to report that I got my table today. Kent helped. He's just getting to the age where we can let him help a little bit with our building/cooking/chore-like tasks, so he was thrilled to pieces to get to sit outside next to Jack and carry around the hammer, the screwdriver, and all the little bits he managed to pull out of the toolbox while Jack had it open.

Pretty nice day, eh? There are rumors floating around about going out to Marble Slab for ice cream later. I'm not sure who started them (it couldn't have been me), but now we're all excited. And we're having chimichangas with fresh tomatoes, guacamole, and cilantro on top. I love spring.

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Lovely lovelies. I like the egg technique and the blue of the table.
ok your blog is just making me sicker. wahh! i miss louisiana in march. u know it's bad here when someone bids me "stay warm".

i love your egg fun, though. we may have to try that if i ever get better. (sorry to be a downer)
That is a lot of stuff for a weekend. Keep it up and you'll have a show on HGTV. And Ice Cream Outing as well?

Your photos are so good, and it is not because I love the people in them - though that is true.

Be there soon. Sorry diber...
Looks like Kent got a really large Jack-in-a-box!

I'm sure Debbie was delighted that one gift became two toys.
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