Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I didn't really make New Year's Resolutions this year. I usually do, but this year I made goals instead - things I'd like to accomplish or do (rather than things I want to change about myself, which is how I think of resolutions.) For January my goal was to declutter and simplify (February's goal? Continue to declutter and simplify.)

I decided a few weeks ago on another goal - rather than just pinning things like crazy, I want to actually DO some of the things I have pinned on Pinterest. Although I don't spend a lot of time on the actual site, I use Pinterest a LOT. I use it like a search engine if I'm looking for a certain type of project (for example: a few weeks ago when I cleaned out our closets and donated, I kept quite a few sweaters and made a "Uses for old sweaters (Repurpose!)" board. Can't wait to make some of those things!) And since I follow quite a few craft blogs, I pin any projects I'd like to keep in mind for the future - my biggest boards are "Things to make and give" with wonderful handmade gift ideas, and "Crafts to do with the kids," which is out of control. 60+ pins, many of which I've shown the boys & which they really want to do. And none of which we've actually done.

I love doing crafts with my kids, and heaven knows they need things to keep them occupied! But it's so easy to let that slide and just let them watch TV or whatever while I get some work done. So I've made it my goal to do at least one thing a week that I have pinned, primarily crafts with the kids. Most of the crafts I've pinned (for kids at least) are super easy and take little prep work - because that's the kind of kids' craft that is up my alley! So there's really no reason I can't accomplish this, at least most weeks.

First up, something the boys have been BEGGING for, Hot Rocks.

 This was one of the first projects I pinned (although I can't find the original pin now...), from a blog called Play Based Learning out of Australia, with lots of great kids' ideas.

The best thing about this craft is that it uses things you're bound to have on-hand: rocks from the back yard, your oven, and broken crayons.WIN.

While I gathered broken crayons, Tobin went on a rock search in the back yard. I told him to look for bigger ones that are smooth. He came back with about 43 rocks, and couldn't really resist the shiny jagged ones, so I just picked out rocks that looked like they'd work.

We peeled the wrappers off the crayons - you probably don't have to do this, but I thought if the crayons melted down to the wrapper, it would be frustrating for Tobin and Micah. In the meantime, the toaster oven was heating up.

The original pin said to heat the rocks in a oven set to 150 degrees Celsius - which I looked up on a converter and found was 304 Fahrenheit. 300 degrees seemed pretty hot to me, since we'd be handling these rocks, so I started us at 250 degrees. But...that wasn't hot enough and cooled off too quickly to melt the crayons. So back in the oven they went.

300 degrees was perfect - just on the edge of being too hot to handle, and the crayons melted right on. I used tongs to take the rocks out one at a time for the boys, leaving the rest in the oven to stay warm. I put them in Tupperware containers so that the boys didn't have to hold them, and also so they weren't sitting directly on our table.

**In retrospect... Should have put dishtowels under the containers to keep the heat completely off the table.  ALSO... Those particular Tupperware containers now have crayon melted permanently to them. So don't use a container you're really attached to.

 Luke (11) really enjoyed this activity - he painted all his rocks black with other colors mixed in. It was cool to see the way the colors bled together.

Tobin (4) continued to work 30 minutes after the other 2 boys finished, and has asked several times since if we can do hot rocks again. He hasn't noticed that I dumped the 33 rocks he found that we didn't use.

Micah (2) was not a fan. I think this would be a great project for most toddlers, it doesn't require skill, and I let his rocks cool a bit more than the others (and helped him press his crayon down.)

But my particular toddler?
Is a little weird about getting things on his hands. With his first rock, he got some melted purple on his finger. So all I heard for the rest of the time was, "MOM. Mom. MOM. Finger. NAPKIN. MOM. FINGER." I gave him a napkin, but it really didn't come off. He spent a LOT more time happily trying to un-purple his finger than he did coloring. At least he was occupied...

Here's the final product:

This was a fun and easy activity, great for a rainy day.

Like most kids' crafts...not sure what I'm supposed to do with these now. At the moment, they're in a ruined Tupperware container on the counter. I'll probably just toss them back outside with the rest of the rocks, but I'll have to wait until Tobin isn't looking, because he'd FLIP.

Technically I already have one "Pinned it and Did it" for this week, because we had my friend Amy's Coconut Chicken Curry for dinner last night. I thought I had everything on hand that I needed, but didn't have the right amount of coconut milk, and I had the wrong kind of curry paste. Oops. I still  liked it, but it wasn't very popular with my fam (as I expected, since I'm the only one who likes coconut.)

Tobin is doing a doing a craft inspired by several pins right now (you'll have to wait to find out what that is, but it involves shaving cream, so it's a hit, and has allowed me to write this entire post.) And I think next up will be this fun looking thing - again, because it's made with things I already have on hand.

In the meantime, I'll probably have pinned 5 more projects. Oh well...