Archive from March, 2014
31 Mar
2014
Posted in: projects
By    Comments Off on Cub Scouts: Unique Pinewood Derby Car Designs

Cub Scouts: Unique Pinewood Derby Car Designs

I remember the first time I saw my husband’s Cub Scout Pinewood Derby cars he had built years ago. I had no idea years later my own garage would become a workshop for Pinewood Derby cars each spring, and we’d have our own shelf to display our sons’ cars.

TV Remote - Cub Scout Pinewood Derby Car

I married an Eagle Scout. I went on my first Boy Scout camping trip as a newlywed before I even had kids. Our three boys are all involved in Scouting: a Boy Scout, a Bear (Cub) Scout and a Tiger (Cub) Scout. Scouting is a passion my boys share with their dad. The annual Cub Scout Pinewood Derby car race is a highlight of scouting for our boys.

Pencil - Cub Scout Pinewood Derby Car

The boys are given a kit containing a rectangular block of wood, four nails and four plastic wheels. Each boy envisions what he wants his car to look like, and dad helps him make it a reality. Most years this isn’t an easy task. It’s time-consuming and filled with multiple steps. It also requires the patience of Job to complete. If there’s one thing Craig has in abundance, it’s patience.

Swiss Cheese - Cub Scout Pinewood Derby Car

I like to be there when the boys reveal their plans to Craig. You can tell for a split-second he wants to tell them it’s too hard and to pick something a little easier. He doesn’t though. Each year he tells them yes, no matter how crazy labor-intensive the idea. I watch as they bundle up and head to the garage on the weekends or week nights when homework is done. I listen to Craig patiently tell them what to do next. He’ll sit next to them on the cold, cement floor guiding little hands as they acquaint themselves with the proper way to use different tools and explain the step-by-step process that will get their cars to completion.

Pink Eraser - Cub Scout Pinewood Derby Car

I may hear a sigh from Craig as he repeats (again) what needs to be done, but he never raises his voice or quits. He may find working on Pinewood Derby cars tedious at times, but he never loses patience. He’s not just building Pinewood Derby cars. He’s building memories, and he knows it.

Roadster - Cub Scout Pinewood Derby Car

The boys want their Pinewood Derby cars to win on race day, but the act of building the car is why they really participate. They enjoy coming up with some new creative idea. Most years, our Pinewood Derby cars look nothing like cars. They’re food or objects around the house. Only one year has anyone actually designed a car. For my boys, the block of wood is just another medium for artistic expression.

Doublemint Gum - Cub Scout Pinewood Derby Car

They’ll be spending their nights this week finishing this year’s cars for the race this weekend. Now the blocks of wood resemble what they’re meant to be, but the details will make them come to life. I enjoy the moment each year when they unveil their Pinewood Derby cars. It’s fulfilling to make your vision a reality, even when you’re six years old.

 


 
Family-Friendly April Fools’ Day Pranks
By     |    Mar 27, 2014
Posted in: parenting, projects     |    Comments Off on Family-Friendly April Fools’ Day Pranks

Family-Friendly April Fools’ Day Pranks

I like to keep my kiddos on their toes. There’s something exciting about finding the unexpected in your daily routine. April Fools’ Day allows me to be creative and wacky with surprises for my family. We stress the importance of not being mean with our tricks and pranks. The goal is not to embarrass or hurt anyone. Everything is done for a pure silliness factor. After six years of pranks, my kids know something will happen on April 1. The... [Read More]

Read more
Favorite Classic Children’s Books
By     |    Mar 26, 2014
Posted in: reading     |    Comments Off on Favorite Classic Children’s Books

Favorite Classic Children’s Books

I like to peruse bookshelves when I’m in people’s homes. I’m always on the lookout for new books to read, for me and my children. Most of the children’s book collections I see are mainly contemporary as far as original publishing dates. We own a decent number of children’s books published 50 years ago or more, and those classics are some of our most read. Older books have a tone different from contemporary books. Illustrations on older books seem to... [Read More]

Read more
DIY: Disney Frozen Elsa Dress
By     |    Mar 25, 2014
Posted in: projects     |    Comments Off on DIY: Disney Frozen Elsa Dress

DIY: Disney Frozen Elsa Dress

We’ve seemingly reached our saturation level as a country for all things Disney Frozen. The release of the DVD and Blu-ray last week had little girls squealing with delight. Our house was not immune. My status post on Facebook last Tuesday was not original. We had bought the movie first thing that morning, and we watched it when we arrived home. We’ve also watched it two other times this past week. My daughter would play Frozen on a continual loop... [Read More]

Read more
Learning to be Unhappy
By     |    Mar 24, 2014
Posted in: parenting     |    2 Comments

Learning to be Unhappy

I was part of the conversation, but really didn’t want to be. A group of moms were discussing how they ultimately want for their children to just be happy. I feel stress mounting every time I hear that statement, “I just want my kids to be happy.” That’s a lot of pressure. Pressure I don’t want or need to be putting on myself. I can’t make it through a day without feeling some other emotion besides happy. I know parents... [Read More]

Read more
Touring Las Vegas with Kids
By     |    Mar 21, 2014
Posted in: photography, travel     |    Comments Off on Touring Las Vegas with Kids

Touring Las Vegas with Kids

We finished our spring break trip in Las Vegas. Yes, we took our kids specifically to Las Vegas Boulevard…aka The Strip. Go ahead and judge. We were originally going to watch college basketball while in Las Vegas, then decided not to once we were there. We kept our kids out late  one night, soaking in the neon lights and Bellagio fountains show. The next day we spent primarily on the Strip, again partaking in a scavenger hunt for squished penny machines.... [Read More]

Read more
Take a Trip: Death Valley National Park
By     |    Mar 20, 2014
Posted in: photography, travel     |    Comments Off on Take a Trip: Death Valley National Park

Take a Trip: Death Valley National Park

When I say we went to Death Valley National Park for spring break, people seem perplexed by the choice. I’ve been asked numerous times why we chose that park for a vacation. We’ve been to loads of destinations run by the National Park Service. It has yet to lead us wrong. The places the park service has set aside and protected for the enjoyment of people are varied and stunning in their own right. Death Valley is no exception. The... [Read More]

Read more
Take a Trip: Joshua Tree National Park
By     |    Mar 19, 2014
Posted in: photography, travel     |    Comments Off on Take a Trip: Joshua Tree National Park

Take a Trip: Joshua Tree National Park

The landscape of Joshua Tree National Park is comprised of geologically odd rock piles and misshapen trees. No two Joshua trees look alike. Despite the muted colors, the park looks as if Dr. Seuss’ Lorax would be at home in this forest reminiscent of Truffula trees. The top of the Joshua trees may branch out a couple of times or dozens with green, prickly tufts at the end of the branches. Massive rock piles dominate large areas of the park,... [Read More]

Read more
Take a Trip: Mojave National Preserve
By     |    Mar 18, 2014
Posted in: photography, travel     |    Comments Off on Take a Trip: Mojave National Preserve

Take a Trip: Mojave National Preserve

All I’ve ever known is living in the shadow of mountains. The parched, cracked desert with its muted colors always seems otherworldly to me. The first stop on our 2014 spring break vacation was the Mojave National Preserve in California. The varying degrees of yellow land marked by cactus, creosote bush scrub and Joshua trees is starkly different from the dark green pine and spruce trees of the Rocky Mountains. The Mojave National Preserve contains 1.6 million acres of land... [Read More]

Read more
Peace in Disconnecting
By     |    Mar 17, 2014
Posted in: travel     |    Comments Off on Peace in Disconnecting

Peace in Disconnecting

Disconnecting from my everyday routine is a driving force in my love of travel. I thrive on no appointments, no Internet, no computer, no phone…disconnecting from the rigors of daily life helps me to center myself when I feel like I’m unraveling. I don’t own a smart phone. I have a smartish TracFone. I know I’m able to connect to the Internet if I need to, but I’ve never actually attempted to do it. As soon as we back out... [Read More]

Read more
March’s Book List
By     |    Mar 7, 2014
Posted in: reading     |    Comments Off on March’s Book List

March’s Book List

I’m an avid reader, raising a brood of book lovers. Each month I’ll share what we’re all reading and would love to hear what books you recommend. Me: Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children) — Ransom Riggs Reconstructing Amelia: A Novel — Kimberly McCreight Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors — Stephen E. Ambrose (book club selection) 12 Years a Slave — Solomon Northup (book club selection) In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel... [Read More]

Read more
Tips for Road Trips with Children
By     |    Mar 6, 2014
Posted in: travel     |    1 Comment

Tips for Road Trips with Children

I’m a huge fan of the great American road trip. My family likes to travel, and when we do, it’s by SUV. I realize 1,600 miles with six people in one vehicle, is not everyone’s idea of a vacation. We’re known to travel 16 hours or more from our home to our ultimate destination. I have this road trip thing down to an art form after years of practice. Make the journey part of the vacation. We, mainly my husband,... [Read More]

Read more