Category Archives: Home Projects – DIY

Recycled Crayon Heart Valentines Day Cards and Gift

I learned something about parenthood.

At age 4, Valentines are recommended. By age 5, Valentines are expected.
School sends home a list of all the kids names, just in case you want to make sure everyone gets one and so you can personalize them.

I, being the holidays-dont-mean-candy mom, wanted to do something crafty that the whole family could get involved with. I turned to Pinterest and found these cool heart crayons that you make from old worn crayons. It turned out to be great fun and kept Taj interested the whole time.


Sorting the Crayons

peeling and sorting crayons for valentines day hearts

We set up an assembly line. Dad razor bladed a line down the crayon wrappers, Taj unwrapped them and I chopped them.

We sorted by color and kept the brown and really dark ones aside. I highly recommend a meat cleaver for this task and much to Taj’s dismay, I told him this was my job.


Making the hearts

crayon hearts for valentines day

Using a silicone heart tray (that you will not be able to use for food post-crayon-heart-making), we made heart filled color themes. I told Taj no more than 2-3 colors per heart which kept them simple enough.

Bake at 200 degrees until they melt (about 30 minutes) and voila. Crayon heart!


Card Design

supplies for crayon heart making Valentines

The next step was to pick a card design. I bought foam hearts, but instead we used crafty Valentines Day paper that I found onsale at Meijers.

To adhere the cards, we did a little trial and error. The goal was to have the hearts stick to the card, but still be able to be pulled off and used.

It turns out a glue from the glue gun doesn’t adhere to waxy crayons.

Then we tried to drip candle wax, but that was messy.

Turns out double sided tape is the perfect solution.

Ok, assembly line works well here again.

  1. Taj picks the card per student
  2. I write their name and the Valentine’s Day note
  3. Taj writes “Love, Taj”
  4. Dad sticks on hearts (and keeps Taj moving fast enough to make it to bedtime before midnight)

Fun Things to Write Inside Your Heart Crayon Valentine’s Day Cards

  • Happy Valentines Day for “Crayon” Out Loud
  • Color Your Heart Out
  • You Color My World
  • Have a Colorful Day
  • Wishing You a Colorful Valentine’s Day
  • You Make My Heart Melt

Ta-Da! Recycled Crayon Hearts Valentine’s Day Cards

recycled crayon Valentines Day card and gift

The Endless Summer: Taj’s Ninja Turtle Themed 5th Birthday Pig Roast

We like to party. We also don’t like ordinary, so when Ethan said he wanted to roast a pig before the winter, we decided to combine his pig roast with Taj’s 5th birthday. We also wanted to get to know some neighbors and invite them, so we did.

Last weekend was 70, unfortunately it was 40 degrees the day of Taj’s party. We hosted the party in the barn. Ethan put the pig on by 8am as planned. By 11am, the bouncy house was up, the food was out and Taj was so happy to have all his friends over.

We asked that people bring canned goods instead of gifts and although I think Taj might have been too young to grasp this concept, our real goal was to let people know that they didn’t have to bring a gift to come. He got plenty of gifts and we’ll be dropping a good amount of canned goods to Green Harvest food pantry.

canned good birthday party drive


excited birthday boy with pinata

Taj was so excited for the pinata. Thanks to Reggie for making it go a little faster.


firepit and ethan's chairs

It was a chilly afternoon, but Ethan finished his adirondeck chairs last week, just in time for relaxing and warming up by the firepit.

In the barn, we had a few electric heaters going, some places for coloring, plenty of food and beverages.



barn party

Ninja turtle birthday cupcakes. Meijers did most of the work, I admit 🙂


work buddies

Ethan and some friends from work.

While cleaning up the next morning, we found cups with ice still in them. We giggled about this and Ethan got picked on for over buying ice. I guess we still aren’t used to stateside cold parties.



You know its a good party when stuff gets left behind. If you own any of these things, let us know and we’ll get them back to you.

Thanks everyone for coming! Taj had a great weekend.





40th Birthday Surprise Weekend to California

I’m overwhelmed and amazed at all the birthday wishes. As much as I’ve been steering clear of FB for a while, the birthday wishes are awesome.

My fabulous hubby surprised me with a trip to Cali for the weekend. Grandma Gayle came in for the weekend before heading to her highschool reunion in Virginia and we took our firest trip without Taj since well, since before he was born.

Taj even made a picture of us on the airplane to Cali in his birthday card.

#fortyandfabulous #bestbirthdayever


San Fran karaoke bar with island friends.

We got to spend some time with Rob and Tanya, then went to Napa and had brunch with Sam and Trint (fresh off the rock the week before) in Sonoma, then to San Fran with Kate and Russ and meeting Max and Dorie for dinner.

crucians in babylon

Brunch with Sam and Trint at Fremont Diner in Sonoma.


greetings from sonoma


cheese tasting with wine tasting

Tasting in Napa at Sterling Vineyards.




last boarding group on southwest flight

We had so much fun, we forgot to check in for our flight. And if you are flying Southwest, that means you get back of the plane and most likely not together.



Holy garden batman!

There is something amazing about having a backyard garden. I was never very successful with my garden until we moved to Illinois. Maybe it was my visiting farmer friends that guided us well, maybe it was fabulously handy hubbie that built the framework, but realistically it was the great Illinois soil and particular climate that gave us a garden full of veggies for a season. I even canned my first tomatoes for the winter. It feels great to eat not just healthy, but self-grown food.

We did learn some things for next year, but hey we’re learning.

1. Keep different peppers separate because you can’t tell which are ripe green or not ripe green.

2. Peas and beans need more space.

3. Lettuce doesn’t work with really long days and bolts very quickly, same with brocolli



vacation cucumbers gone yellow

Over the vacation, no one harvested and some of the veggies got too ripe. Check out the size of that cucumber.


bouquet of kale


backyard garden harvest illinois

All summer long we had veggies like this!


chicken eggs in the briar path

This wasn’t at our house, but I do dream of getting backyard chickens next year.


Kale antlers.