November 19, 2009

Rainy Days

Generally I like the rain. I even love it some days. I've lived a lot of my life in rainy places but really, Virginia rain is something else entirely. The night we moved here, within minutes of landing at the airport just out of town a downpour began that was harder than I've ever seen in my life. It didn't rain, it didn't even pour, it DRENCHED. It soaked and flooded and just the dash from the car to the door of the hotel was enough to soak us through. I remember that Briton asked sleepily as we tucked him into the bed if we could go to the park in the morning. No, I told him, everything would be muddy and wet in the morning, but maybe in a few days when things had dried out.

Much to my surprise and Briton's delight, the morning dawned hot and totally dry. After years of living in rain soaked lands I almost thought I'd dreamed the storm the night before.

In the two and a half years since then, I've gotten pretty used to the torrential rain that sometimes thunders down upon us, but sometimes, even I get fed up when the rain pours so hard you cant even go out to get the mail.

Today was one of those days. Evelyn and I made a dash for it to hit the gym (me) and the playzone (her) but after that we spent a lot of time inside just hanging. After a while though, even Playdoh and Sleeping Beauty lost it's charm and we still had an hour before the bus run.

I started this project a few weeks ago but got distracted and didn't finish (bad mama) so today seemed like the day. The best part about this was that Evelyn could help me make it, and then she could play with it. And what else is better on a crummy day than a new toy, right?

If you don't happen to have four plain wooden blocks just lying around (and who does really, I bought these at the craft store just for this project, because I'm nuts like that) see if you can dig up four alphabet blocks. The irony is that if I'd started this a few weeks earlier (ie, before I went a little crazy cleaning out bins in the basement) I too would have had alphabet blocks. That's just the price I pay for having obsessive cleaning binges.

Anyway, my kids have always loved puzzle blocks. We bought our first one on a trip to Paris when Briton was two and it kept him busy for HOURS while Will and I ate in cafes, gazed at paintings and generally enjoyed ourselves. But for something that kids seems to love so much, they're not as common as you might think. We've gathered a few more through the years, but not a lot.

So there I sat one day, clearing out a bunch of old High Five magazines that had been loved to death and I realized that some of the pictures would make great puzzles, and even better, great block puzzles. And if I was going to make a block puzzle, why not throw in some family photos as well, just for kicks.

Trace around the blocks while they are centered on the photo or picture and then trim carefully along the lines.

You want to err on the side of small or you'll get bumpy edges (see those edges, not fun, kids like to peel bumpy edges. Now I know better though)

Then apply with Modge Podge, one coat under the paper, another coat or two on top. Easy Peasy. One tip, don't let your kids play with them before they dry. In fact, you might want to hide them until they are dry, otherwise they start looking a little ratty right off the bat. But nothing that another coat of modge podge couldn't take care of.