Friday, July 27, 2012

Bringing the Olympics home

I love the Olympics.  I always have.  I love the Summer Games and the Winter Games.  For the next two weeks, you will find me glued to the tv every night.   I may even give up sleep to watch the late-night coverage and then get up early to check internet coverage.  Either way, I will probably be sporting my latest jewelry-making project, my very own set of Olympic rings.
via Remarkably Domestic

I vividly remember watching the '84 Games in Los Angeles when Mary Lou Retton took the women's gymnastics all-around title with her two perfect 10.0s on the vault.  I decided then that I was going to be a gymnast and started practicing on my own.  Yeah, that dream fell by the wayside one day when I realized I was too tall to be a gymnast, so I was going to turn to rhythmic gymnastics since you could be taller there.  Unfortunately, my practice sessions didn't work out so well, and somehow not one coach or recruiter ever happened to be driving by to see my feeble attempts natural talent with a ribbon or hoop.
Anyway, a recent issue of Family Fun magazine had an article about adopting a country to cheer for during the Games.  The family in the article rewarded each family member for the medals earned by their adopted countries.  A gold medal equaled a quarter, a silver would earn a dime and each bronze medal would get a penny.
After drawing countries out of a hat, we are going to be cheering for France, Finland, Russia, Romania, Sweden, Hungary, Australia and China. (Germany and Italy are also in the top 10 for highest medal count, historically.)
I made up a tracking sheet with our country's flag, so we can keep our own medal tally.  (I'm thinking the youngest kids are going to clean house with Australia and China!)  We may hang on to the same countries for the Winter Games in two years.  I'll have a much better chance of scoring with Finland there, I think.  I also made a USA tally sheet.  We'll track our medals and put the funds toward a fun family outing.
Do you have any fun Olympic traditions?  I'd love to hear about them. :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Crafting lesson: Countdown to School

I can't believe that we have less than a month before school starts up again. Princess is super-excited to be going to kindergarten and asks on a regular basis if she gets to go to school today.  I decided to do a little project to help her see how many days until she becomes a mighty kindergartener.  We made a paper countdown chain.
Yes, we're crafting in our jammies.  It's summer-time. :)
 Basically, I had Princess and Little Miss Sunshine choose different colors of construction paper.  Then they decorated one sheet to be a header.  I cut strips from the remaining papers (about 1 inch wide).  The strips were then stapled individually to form a chain.
We finished by stapling the chain to the bottom of the paper.  Now they can pull one link off before going to bed and watch as the remaining 3 1/2 weeks of summer fly by.  Princess will be starting kindergarten before I can blink. :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fitness Olympics

My extended family started a new fitness challenge in honor of the Summer Olympics.  This 6-week challenge incorporates different activities with medals awarded in each event.  Our first task was to create a flag to represent each individual in the games.  The catch was that everything on the flag had to represent something health-related.

My flag has a yellow background representing the happiness I feel when I make healthy choices.
The red flower represents courage and beauty.
The 6 blue lines represent my goal to drink at least 6 glasses of water per day.
The green ivy represents persistence needed to reach my healthy goals.  This inspiration came from the impossible-to-kill ivy that grows in our backyard.

Challenge #2 was to create an obstacle course.  Each person turned in their best time and medals were given accordingly. 
Our obstacle course started at the base of our backyard birdhouse.  Then our agility and ability to change directions was challenged by weaving around a series of cones. From there, we tested our leaping ability with a quick leap over a rope loop and then practiced quick, alternating foot movements through a series of rope circles.  A quick dash across a homemade balance beam and a dash to our "weeping angel" statue at the base of the tree completed the course.

Challenge #3 was my brain-child:  an event I call the Marathon Relay.  Each family member earned miles by running or walking.  Or, they could turn 10 minutes of exercise into a mile.  Miles were also earned through healthy habits: fruit or veggie servings, whole grain servings, dairy servings, cups of water.  Everyone's miles were added together with the gold medal course honoring our pioneer heritage and a symbolic trek from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Salt Lake City, Utah.
For the silver medal, I mapped the 500 mile distance between my hometown and a brother's city.  The bronze distance was the 280 miles or so between our hometown and the nearest "big city".  Everyone that participated earned the same medal.  I'm happy to say that we made our 1256 mile goal and earned the gold medal.

These challenges have been fun ways to get our whole family more involved in healthy habits and makes for a fun way to celebrate the Olympics. I can't wait to find out what the challenges for the next few weeks might be.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wool critters

** This is not a sponsored post.  All opinions contained herein are my own. **
Today I want to share with you a fun Etsy shop: Good Natured by Dani.  I first discovered her through a post on one of the blogs I follow.  Then, I won a facebook giveaway for a free craftimal.  I asked her if she could make a fox for my husband (since that's his Woodbadge critter). Renard the Fox was born.
Fast forward several months to when I completed the Woodbadge course.  I knew I wanted to ask if she could make a beaver so we could have a "matched set" so to speak.  I finally decided to go for it and emailed the request.  Dani was quick to jump on the idea and she created Winston the Beaver.

I love that she even included a "chewed" tree stump.  A funny side-note:  Over the last night of our training, we were asked to do some kind of service at the camp.  Options were limited in the pouring rain, so my patrol decided to gather up some dead-wood and pile it near the firepit for the next group to be able to use for firewood.  As we shared our projects the following morning, one of the staff members (also a Beaver) informed us that this wasn't firewood, it was a snack!

Anyway, I'm super pleased with our cute, wool critters. I'm sure they'll become the best of friends.
If you've ever wondered what to get someone for a gift or just because, you should check out Dani's shop.  She has lots of cute animals and is open to new ideas.  You think of it, she'll craft it!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Christmas in July

I decided to participate in the Christmas in July gift exchange hosted by Adrianne at Happy Hour Projects.  I was paired with Shannon from Crafty Bliggety Blog.  Since this was not a secret exchange, we were able to get to know each other a little and even make requests beforehand.  Shannon indicated that she really liked the crocheted headbands I had on my blog, so of course, I made her one.
Then, Shannon said that she loves the color purple and has a pet rabbit, so I came up with the idea to make an amigurumi bunny. I fell in love with this pattern for a floppy-eared bunny.
I thought the bunny needed a little something more, even after adding ear bows, so I made a little necklace by tying a Celtic heart knot.
Part of why I decided to participate in this exchange is because I absolutely love getting mail.  Anything addressed to me (besides bills) makes me happy.  I especially love getting surprises in the mail. I was super-excited to see what Shannon had in store for me, so I was thrilled when my package arrived and I found this:
A fun, handmade Peter Pan card in a sheet music envelope.  I love Peter Pan, it's one of the first movies I remember seeing on VHS. Princess is a big fan of Tinkerbell.  I'm thinking I might have to frame the card for her room.  Plus, I enjoy playing the piano, so the music was a great personal touch.

Then I found this cute little jewelry box with my name engraved and two fun necklaces.
 I had mentioned that I collect thimbles, which I'm sure was the inspiration for the thimble necklace. I love the acorn as well. It not only ties in to the Peter Pan/Tinkerbell idea, but it makes me think about my recent Woodbadge training experience. These will both be fun pieces to wear.

I can't wait to participate in another gift exchange.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Aqua Zone

With the Olympic Swim Trials in town the past two weeks, we made time to go check out the Aqua Zone exhibits.  We would have loved to go to one of the sessions of the trials, but alas, unlike Michael Phelps' reach to the finish line, the ticket prices were a ways out of our budget's reach.  So, we settled for paying our $8 parking fee and went to the free stuff.  I was impressed with the family-friendliness that wasn't there four years ago.  There were a lot more family activities this time and fewer that catered just to adults or swimmers.
We started with a walk on the blue carpet and a photo op.  (Maybe they'll have better lighting next time.)
Inside, we explored the various booths, some local, some general Olympic-themed, and some sales advertisements.  One of the local news stations showed their green screen technology with souvenir photos.
We tried our hands at the Orowheat prize wheel and came away with 4 loaves of bread, one coupon, 2 lip balms and a water bottle.  Not a bad haul.  I'd say we got our parking fee's worth.
We had fun photo booth shots.

We compared our wingspan to Michael Phelps.
We signed mementos that will go to London for the athletes to see.
Maybe we'll get another chance to come back in four more years.  I sure hope so.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Our family dancing debut

It's time for another episode of our family fitness challenge.  Today's challenge was to choreograph a dance to a song, videotape it, and share it with our extended family.  Here we are in our musical dancing debut to "I'll Make A Man Out Of You" by Donny Osmond.
Overall, this was a really fun activity (aside from Princess getting a foot to her eye).  Just don't expect any sequels.
If you're looking for a summer boredom buster, get out the music, practice some dance moves and record your dance.  I'd love to see what you come up with. :)