DIY Garden Mushrooms

Cora loves to look at the fairy garden display at Michaels and a couple little mushroom ornaments caught my eye. The ones in the store were a little pricey for me and not quite what I was looking for, but I thought mushroom garden ornaments would make a perfect DIY. We've also been spotting mushrooms popping up all over our yard and we love checking them out.
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+ Sculpey (I love buying this in larger quantities for our crafting projects)
+ Cookie sheet and oven
+ Craft paint and paint brushes
1 Start by making your own little clay mushrooms. We started by making a ball and squishing it out into the top part of the mushrooms. Next, we mushed a little cylinder in there any smoothed out the sides. I liked to add little lines to the bottom of mine. This is the stage that you need to make sure they stand up on their own. 

2 Bake. Follow the instructions for this. It usually says about 15 minutes depending on thickness. These took about 30 minutes to bake and another 30ish to cool

3 Once the mushrooms are cooled... Paint with craft paint. I liked painting the stem and underside first, letting it dry, then painting the top. The top is obviously the most fun part to paint, so we liked to leave them for the end.

4 Optional: If you're going to put these outside, I would recommend some kind of clear coat to protect the paint from the elements.

In hindsight, I wish I had put a little hole for a stake in the stem. These would stand up so much better if they were inserted into the dirt using a small stake. This should be added during step 1 if you're interested in experimenting with that.
Check out some of my other kid-friendly Sculpey clay tutorials like our DIY Valentines Heart and the Santa Handprint Ornament. They make excellent grandparent gifts and kids love DIYing them.


A Cottage Makeover : Painting The Roof

I left off with the cottage makeover with most of the exterior finished. It took a couple weeks before I had a chance to work on the playhouse some more. I mixed up some of our door paint with a bunch of water and started with a wash on the roof. I worked my way around the whole house and did two coats over 30 minutes.

With most DIYs, my kids are nearby either helping out or working on something themselves. I set them up with some outdoor chalk paint (affiliate link) for them to play with. They spent more time putting it all over their bodies instead of on the patio, but it kept them distracted so I could get some work done. I love this picture of my messy kids creating in front of my half-done DIY... It is such a great representation the season of life we're in right now. Always making!
Unfortunately, I didn't know it was going to rain that day and it rained a couple hours after I finished up the roof. The roof still looks darker/grayer than the before, but I'm a little disappointed it isn't quite as black as it was right after painting. 

We still need to paint the back red, but we're getting there. Cora has also been asking if we can paint the inside, so I'm thinking that could be pretty fun for the girls to work on that together.

Sometimes, it feels a little silly putting so much time into making over this little playhouse when the to-do list for our own house is so long... but then I get a peek at the cottage from my kitchen window or while we're playing in the backyard and it brings a smile to my face. 

PS. Remember what this looked like before the makeover?!


Walks With Ida : Ault Park

When we lived in Oakley, Ault park was our favorite spot to visit if we needed to get out of the house. It's probably the thing I miss most about our old place. It isn't that far, but there are so many other places to explore that are closer to our current home, so we haven't visited since the spring.
When we had to head over to the area for Ida's 2 year doctor appointment, I thought it would be the perfect time to go exploring on our favorite little trail with just Ida. Ida wasn't in to walking (which doesn't surprise me since Cora didn't really hike it until she was 2.5), so she spent the whole hike in the carrier asking "what's that?!" about every single tree we passed and noise we heard.

After the hike, we walked around the gardens and Ida stuck her feet in the fountain. I was quickly reminded how big Ida has gotten since the time Jazz came to visit and the girlies were all about the fountain. Ida was fascinated with the face at the top of the fountain that spits out water. It took quite a while to peel her away from our fountain spot.

We went up to the top of the steps and Ida was obsessed with the water fountain... which baby cora used to be obsessed with too. Ida spent way too much time stepping on the water fountain pedal and taste-testing the water. She also loved running around inside of the pavilion and making loud noises to hear the echo. 

Ida does not like to stray to far from Momma, so she spent a lot of time making sure I was closely following her or asking to be carried. It was nice to spend one-on-one time adventuring with Ida and I'm looking forward to similar outings with my girl in the coming months.
See more #WalksWithIda over on Instagram.


Vegetable Garden : Enjoying the Process

Last time I shared about our garden, we had a tiny harvest and everything else was either rotting, being eaten by deer, or still growing. Because we weren't getting much and we lost some plants to that leaf fungus thing, we decided we would see where the rest of the season took us and really just enjoy the process of walking in the garden, watering plants, and digging in the dirt. Any extra harvest would be a bonus.

When we got back from vacation, we thought we'd try one of the watermelons even if it wasn't ready yet. We picked our biggest watermelon (AKA Mama Watermelon) and chopped it up.  Success! It was so delicious and the girls chowed down. I don't think either one of the girls had seen watermelon with seeds in it before, so that was a funny realization.

While eating watermelon, Cora asked if we could plant the seeds. I hadn't thought about it before so I read through a bunch of articles on the internet and landed on this process. First, I put all the seeds in a bowl of water and discarded the seeds that floated to the top. Next, we laid out the seeds and let them dry overnight. We made some envelopes for the seeds and then put all the envelopes in a jar with a little bit of rice. I'm not 100% that this is correct, but I'm hoping what we did worked and we have a good amount of watermelons next year. We made sure to write the name of the watermelon on the envelope to see if one watermelon produces more plants and whether the best tasting ones produce the best tasting offspring. Some of our other names include Trashy Watermelon and Butthead Watermelon... so mature!
Cora was cutting up some lemons from her lemonade stand and she separated all of the lemon seeds hoping to plant them. Of course, I consulted Google to see what I should do. We soaked the seeds in a jar of water before planting. It looks like the plants can be moved inside (or even the garage!) during the winter and it will continue to grow. Cora loves checking on her lemon plants and watching their progress. I'm sure she would love to make lemonade from her very own lemon trees if they ever yield fruit.

In the last month, we have harvested a couple tomatoes and peppers (which are way too hot for me) and we're waiting for some more tomatoes to ripen.

We also found some of these cool mushrooms around the yard. I don't let the girls touch them, but they're fun to look at and observe the different ones that grow around our property.
I have been pulling out some of the dead plants and thinking about starting a fall garden... but for now, we're enjoying where we're at.

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