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I am a regular June Freakin’ Cleaver

I am not the crafty sort. I am nearly positive I cleverly conned sweetly asked my parents or my talented, artistic best friend into helping me make every craft assignment required of me by grade school. I love being creative, so it’s not the ideas I have trouble with, it’s the follow through. There was a time that I used to needlepoint, but I never finished a single piece. Sigh. When Vivi asks to do an art project, I find myself doing either finger-paints, gluing cotton balls onto paper, or coloring a giant piece of kraft paper A LOT.

I do love the parent-child connection that an art project provides. As I child, I remember really enjoying pressing flowers with my mom and helping my dad paint furniture. My parents both selected careers that involve working with your hands, being on your feet all day, and being able to think creatively, so needless to say they are both incredible crafters. When I was growing up, I would casually I mention to my dad that I would like a playhouse or to my mom that I’d like to garden, and before you could say boo, they’d be outside banging on 2x4s or tilling the ground. Talk about energy

I want to give my kids similar experiences to my memories. Part of the reason it’s fun having kids in the first place is that I’m able to relive my childhood from a new vantage point. Plus, in Boston you really need a repertoire of indoor activities, so I am pushing myself to be more creative. Enter Pinterest. {Note: They aren’t paying me to advertise for them so much, but man they should be.} They are the savior for the un-crafty among us, such as yours truly. I am adding to my Ideas for the Girls pin board daily, and guess what? I actually made some stuff, y’all!

Last week, I grabbed the February calendar out of Vivi’s school cubby, and my eyes widened at the comment next to February 14th: Bring Valentines. UGH. It’s not that I dislike Valentine’s Day; it’s a sweet notion in an otherwise dreary month. I think it’s adorable that kids share Valentines with each other, but in preschool? Seriously? Having to explain yet another holiday to this kid is like an Abbot and Costello routine. I should charge admission for this show:

So Vivi, you’re going to have a holiday at school soon.


No, not Christmas, Valentine’s Day.

Balum kinds? What’s a balum?

No, Valentines, with a ‘V.’ It’s a special day at school coming soon. You get to share treats.

With the other kids?


What are they called?


Balum kinds? What’s a balum?

No, “vuh,” “vuh,” “Vah-len-tines.” They are little notes and treats to tell your friends how much you like them.

Like Santa?

Kind of, except you are the one bringing the treats for your friends.

Can’t we just do Santa again?

Wow, that was a long aside! But anyway, back to me and June Cleaver. I knew I didn’t want to buy cheap candy and those flimsy tear-apart cards, but nor did I see myself doing the lollipop-picture thing. So, I wisely collected the wisdom of Facebook and Pinterest, and Vivi and I made crayon hearts! See here and here for inspiration. It was super easy and of relatively similar cost to the candy/paper ($8 for a silicon baking tray at Joann’s Fabrics that I can reuse for cupcakes), and it was fun besides.

Vivi insisted on this “presentation” for my photo.

We collected all the broken, war-torn crayons from under couch cushions and behind her bed (of which there were surprisingly many), and we only ended up needing about 10 sorta-new crayons to round out the stack. She had a blast with her art project, and all I’d change in the future is to make an extra one for her! Duh, sorry dude. Silly Mommy.image
She also enjoyed writing cards for all her schoolmates, and I had a chuckle at her creativity with her name spelling (she knows to spell it “Vivi” but insisted the card looked better with “Vivivi”). Nate wasn’t quite as amused by her spontaneity or my devil-may-care attitude. To which I say, “Meh.”

Notice the zillions of lines in the ‘E.’ Oh, and the monster in the corner.

I felt I was on a roll, so I opted to continue the crafty madness and make some discovery bottles for Charlotte. I often have this nagging feeling that I’m not providing enough mental stimulation for her; Vivi was at a home daycare at this age, and I was supremely confident in the nanny’s 30 years experience. We’d get these great daily reports that would say Vivi had played with bubbles and sand, danced to music, and shaken maracas. In a day with me, Charlie’s lucky if she gets to play with a whisk and a wooden spoon and listen to some NPR.

Yes, these are considerably ghetto toys. Thanks for noticing.

Are you crafty or artistic in your life? A knitter or painter, perhaps? I just found out that an old college friend is learning to play piano this year. How cool is that? I’m inspired to find my own hidden artistic talent.

Editor’s Note: This post is a part of Kids Co-Op, Frugal Friday, the Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Blog Hop, and…