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AR Workshop: Countdown to Christmas

14 Nov

Lindsey and I are totally on a roll with our AR Workshop projects. First, we did a couple plank signs (see here) and then we went back and made our own chunky knit blankets (here they are). I follow the Annapolis AR Workshop on Instagram, so when I saw that they just came out with personalized advent calendars I immediately texted Lindsey and we signed up!

{Pssst, this isn’t a sponsored post, but if you want to find an AR Workshop you can find them here:}

Usually, I leave Jack at home with Travis. But he was super busy over the weekend with some tree felling goodness, so I figured I’d just take Jack with me. And I’m awfully glad I did, because he had a great time helping!

Much like my previous plank sign, we started with picking our colors, sanding the wood board, stained it, cut out and attached the stencil, painted the letters, took the stencils off, and then did any touch-ups needed. For this particular project, we also stained some extra wood pieces to attach to the front of the sign. After marking each straight line, I turned it over and used a nail gun to connect them together.

Funny story: when the helper lady brought out the nail gun and handed it to me to use, Jack raised his hand and let us know that he is NOT comfortable using a nail gun. Yeah kid… you’re 7. We know!

Here are some photos we took throughout the process:

Jack did help every single step of the way – except for the staining of the board and the nail gun use – and was super proud that he could hang out with the adults. I love that every year when we bring out our new Countdown to Christmas calendar, it will remind us of the fun memory of making the project together.  

Here are our finished projects:

Lindsey made a sign for her parent’s mantle and we made our Countdown sign. We just need to find something small – like a little tree or stuffed toy – to place on the ledge in front of the appropriate date as we count down.

As always, we had such a wonderful time at the Workshop that I’m already checking the website to see if there is something else I want to make. My sister reached out and wants to go too, so maybe I’ll have some more Workshop goodness to share soon!

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Family Time with the Cares Foundation

29 Oct

Over the weekend, we had the opportunity to participate in a 5k walk at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis. The walk was a fundraiser for the Cares Foundation and specifically benefited those with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH). A friend of mine’s daughter has CAH and when she told me that they were doing the fundraising walk, I practically begged her to send me the information so we could sign up.

I know, I know… who has to beg their friend to send them fundraising information?!

However, I’ve actually seen this happen time and time again over the years. So many people are asking for money or business on their Facebook pages, that other people don’t even want to share an organization they are passionate about because they feel like they are just adding to the gimme-gimme noise. But here’s the thing when your friend is passionate about something – like an organization that has helped her navigate a disorder like CAH – we WANT to show up for them. Really!

And we had such a wonderful time!

There were a bunch of fantastic raffles, so we went ahead and donated $20 for raffle tickets and put a few in each of the baskets we liked. Jack had the opportunity to draw the ticket for the very first prize… and it was our ticket!

We now had board games coming out the wazoo and Jack is already obsessed with the mini Etch-a-Sketch from “What’s My Sketch.” We took it with us to dinner over the weekend and it kept all three of us busy competing with each other.

Here are Jack (left) and Travis’ (right) pictures for “make a picture of Ollie”:

And here is “make a smilie face” (Travis on left and Jack on right):

We can’t wait for the next rainy weekend day so we can break into some new games!

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Jack Had ANOTHER Growth Spurt: My Pants Adventure

22 Oct

I swear, I just blogged about this in April when Jack grew out of all his size 6 pants. Which was just 7 months after he grew out of all his size 5 pants. At the time, Jack’s pants were suddenly a few inches too short… but since it was only April, I had to buy the next size since it was a month or so until shorts weather.

I had high hopes that after wearing his size 7 pants for a month, I could squeak a little more wear out of them in the fall.

Yeah, that didn’t happen.

We had our first week of cool weather and the kid grew out of his dang pants again.

But now we have a new problem. I usually stock up on Nike and Under Armour track pants at TJ Maxx and Marshalls, but after a size 7 there is no size 8. Instead the sizes transition into small, medium and large.

Well, you may be thinking that I should just go with smalls. Yeah, me too. But while the smalls are consistent with an 8 in length, they are much larger in the waist. And my kid is super slim with really long legs. So, to get the pants to fit in the length, you have to tie the waist really tight and they are still falling down on him!

Also, apparently size small isn’t popular. Or maybe it’s too popular. I went to 3 Marshall’s stores and 1 TJ Maxx store and found just TWO pairs of potential pants in a size small. They had plenty of the thicker sweatpants, but the sporty trackpants where nowhere to be found. I also found a pair of Adidas trackpants in a 7x, so I figured I’d throw them into my pile too.

Then, I went to Kohls because I heard they have a good sporty boy’s section. After searching the entire section, I found a total of 6 pairs of size small pants that ranged in price from $25 – $40. I’m used to Marshalls pricing of $17 for a pair… so there was some super sticker shock happening!

So, that gives us a total of 8 pairs of size small pants and 1 pair of a 7x size. We had a little try-on session at home in the living room and I made three piles: fits just right, fits good but a little big (and he will grow into them), or way too big around the waist (and he will grow too tall before he fits them in the waist).

The one pair of 7x pants were perfection. The same size around the waist as a normal 7, but with a few extra inches of length! EXACTLY what I needed.

The two pairs from Marshalls that were a size small were okay. The length was good and there was a little extra space around the waist, but Jack could jump up and down and not worry about them falling to his knees. The prices were right, so I may pack these away for a few months to see if they fit better in the winter.

As for the six pairs from Kohls, only one pair worked at all. Every single pair was great when it came to length, but holy hell were they wide at the waist and butt area! I picked up a mix of Under Armour and Nike, so I was shocked that they went from a slim size 7 to a husky size small. SHOCKED!

Out of all 9 pairs, we ended up with 2 that can fit right now and 2 that may fit better in a few months. That’s it! I packed the Kohl’s pants back up in the bag to return and went to bed defeated.

And then I had a thought. Maybe I can find some more of those Adidas 7x pants somewhere! I did some googling around and found them on Amazon with Prime shipping! They have two versions with 7x as an option, the Adidas Boys Tapered Trainer pant for $19.20 and the Adidas Boys Tricot Jogger pants for $18. I ordered three more pairs and crossed my fingers that they’d fit consistent with the pair we had.

And they do! Jack now has 5 pairs of pants that actually fit him and 2 pairs waiting for him to gain a little weight in the tummy. I wish I had that problem with my pants…

If you also have a tall, thin kid that keeps growing out of pants, you may find the fact that there are a few 7x’s out in the world helpful!

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means that clicking on a link may help me earn a small commission at no cost to you.

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Pottery Fun

26 Sep

Back before I had Jack, I used to love to make pottery. A friend and I took a class at a nearby studio, which then allowed us to use the studio whenever we wanted for our projects. Well, it’s been probably 15+ years since I sat down at a pottery wheel, so when my sister invited me to join in for some studio time… I was all for it!

We decided to book a Mud & Merlot class at The ClayGround Studio in Ellicott City. It typically costs $45 per student and it includes an instructor to teach you how to throw a vase, cup or bowl. It’s also BYOB, so we brought some hard cider and wine to enjoy while we played with clay!

The Family (me, Jack, Katie (my sister), Jason (my brother), Jaclyn (Jason’s wife), my mom, and Craig (Katie’s husband).

For our first session, we each made our own item. You can see my bowl and Jack’s cup here:

Then, they put our items in the kiln and we were told to come back in a few weeks to glaze them. Well, a few weeks turned into a couple months so that we could pick a date that worked for everyone… but we finally got back there at the end of August.

Here are how our items looked after they were baked for the first time, before the glaze:

I decided to paint mine with a pretty smoky blue on the inside and then do a white base and dotted blue design on the outside of the bowl:

Jack decided to work with my dad (his Dippy) to paint his with a solid color and then had Dippy paint little designs all over it (I didn’t get a  good picture of his, but you can see it in the background of the last photo).

Here are all out bowls before they went back into the kiln for the last time:

Two weeks later and they were done! Here is how my bowl turned out:

And here is Jack’s cup:

That’s a LEGO head on there, in case you were wondering! Each dish is dishwasher and food safe, so we have already started using them at home. My bowl is perfect for serving fruit at dinner and Jack’s cup has been used for little snacks and water too.

It was really fun to get back into throwing some clay around and everyone else had a really fun time too. I love that Jack was hanging with the ‘big kids’ and even worked on his own little project too.

So now I feel like I want to do some more classes. They have a mosaic class… so maybe we will try that one next!

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