Chalk on the Wild side review with Valentine Chalk printable PDF

I was given Chalk on the Wild Side to review (*affiliate link*), so the first thing I did was hand it over to my youngest! I knew she would be the perfect judge of what this book had to offer.  I told her to look in it to see if there was anything she wanted to make.

Chalk on the Wild Side Review with free printable PDF


DIY Valentine Chalk with Free Printable PDF tag

We settled on a few projects to start with. The first we made was the multi-colored chalk. It turned out to be perfect to use for Falafel’s classroom valentines! I came up with a free PDF printable for those of you who want to do the same.

DIY Valentine Chalk with Free Printable PDF tag

The chalk was super easy to whip up, and the only thing we didn’t already have in the house was plaster of paris.

DIY Valentine Chalk with Free Printable PDF tag

We packaged them individually in these tiny cello bags, and stapled the tent card on the top.

DIY Valentine Chalk with Free Printable PDF tag

The directions in the book are very clear with great photos. Our 10 year old had no problem following them. We did it together, but let her lead. That makes all the difference, sometimes.

DIY Valentine Chalk with Free Printable PDF tag

There are more than 25 different projects to make and multiple recipes to follow. My child was ecstatic reading the possibilities.

DIY Valentine Chalk with Free Printable PDF tag

Her classroom doesn’t allow sweets to be passed out with the Valentines, so this is a perfect alternative!

DIY Valentine Chalk with Free Printable PDF tag

The next project we tried out was the chalk dough.

Chalk on the Wild Side Book review: making chalk dough

This one was also right up my girl’s alley. She LOVES getting her hands into it!  Messy?? Then YES.

Chalk on the Wild Side Book review: making chalk dough

She got to make this one all by herself, and she was beyond thrilled.

Chalk on the Wild Side Book review: making chalk dough

Even though it was not warm out, she played outside with this stuff for a good long time. It is crumbly, but if you press it together, it sticks.

Chalk on the Wild Side Book review: making chalk dough

The projects in here are not just for Summertime! There are some indoor chalk projects, bathtub chalk, as well as some that you can even use in the snow.

DIY Valentine Chalk with Free Printable PDF tag

This book is definitely one that we will keep as a boredom buster and a reference. A great addition to our crafty library.

DIY Valentine Chalk with Free Printable PDF tag

*Even though I recieved a copy of this book in exchange for a review, all opinions are mine, mine, mine.

Walking the red carpet with King Fu Panda 3

About a week ago, my Falafel and I (and her friend and friend’s Mom) had the privilege of attending the pre-screening red carpet event for Kung Fu Panda 3!


We all had a blast!


We were at Lincoln cinemas in Bellevue (which was a bit of a hike for us), and there was an actual red carpet for us to walk down! We even had our photos taken. We felt like celebrities.


There was a lot to look at outside the theater.


The girls were given panda ears and popcorn.


Did I mention we saw it in 3D??!


These two didn’t want to take off the glasses even after the film.

Kung Fu Panda 3 comes out January 29th in the theaters. If you don’t know what it is about, here is a little summary:


Directors: Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni

Producer: Melissa Cobb

Cast:  Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, J.K. Simmons, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Kate Hudson, James Hong, Randall Duk Kim


In 2016, one of the most successful animated franchises in the world returns with its biggest comedy adventure yet, KUNG FU PANDA 3. When Po’s long-lost panda father suddenly reappears, the reunited duo travels to a secret panda paradise to meet scores of hilarious new panda characters.  But when the supernatural villain Kai begins to sweep across China defeating all the kung fu masters, Po must do the impossible—learn to train a village full of his fun-loving, clumsy brethren to become the ultimate band of Kung Fu Pandas!

I cannot say anything, yet, about the film, but I am so happy we went to see it! I love these films, and this one did not disappoint. I am actually excited about seeing it again!

Warrior Cat Birthday party wrap up

Warrior Cats Cupcakes

Warrior Cats Party

Warrior banner

This was our most laid-back birthday party ever. There were only 3 guests. I did not plan a single activity. I made a few components (this, this, and this), plus food, painted their faces, and released all four of them into our yard to plan and play Warrior Cats for an hour! When they came in tired and freezing and wet (yes, I threw them out there in the cold pouring rain), I served hot hibiscus tea and Warrior cupcakes. Then when we still had 30 minutes left (what was I thinking making it 3 hours??!!), my husband brought out a HUGE piece of white cardboard he had in the garage, and let them draw all over it. That was a hit!

At the end of the day, we had one very celebrated, happy Warrior Cat 10 year old.


And that concludes the formal Birthday Parties for our girls. After age 10, they can invite one or two friends to an activity (movies, bowling, skating, etc), but no party. One of my more brilliant ideas, if I do say so myself.

What are your Birthday traditions and rules?

20 years

It is our 20th Wedding Anniversary today!


Us when were dating…waaaaaay back when.


On our wedding day 20 years ago today.

It was the day of the “Blizzard of 96” as it was to be known as. I remember drinking a lot of champagne, and eating no food, and how very strange and surreal it all was. The person that was going to play music for our ceremony, drove into a snowbank and didn’t make it. The Unitarian Minister was hitting on every single woman in the place. My mother accidentally lit her nail on fire. No one liked our choice in music. One of your groomsmen slipped on the ice while carrying my djembe drum, and put his head through it. The day after, we were snowed in our little 1 bedroom apartment with 4 other people and our 3 cats. It was something I don’t think anyone will ever forget. And honestly I wouldn’t change a thing. It was a day and we have funny stories. It is every day after that counts.


And us after 20 years of marriage (and two kids).

I feel very fortunate to be able to celebrate this day with the man I love, and have loved for more than two decades. I cannot imagine having a better partner to navigate this life with. You are a good father and a loving husband, and I am so very thankful we still like to be around eachother.

Happy Anniversary, Jim! I love you.

Happenings this week


Someone in our local Buy Nothing Project group  (like here, and here) posted this recumbent bike up for grabs last week. My husband has been looking for a bike  to ride to work with, and to ride with our girls, so I put his name in the virtual hat.  On Christmas Day, they chose his name, and we ran right over to pick it up!

The last few days he has been getting it road ready by aquiring a helmet and lights, a crate for the back, and a flag. He actually designed the flag, using an old piece of market tent we had in the garage, pinned it, and asked me to sew it up. I can’t wait to share it with you.


Our girls are feeling a bit better, and we face more allergy testing for our Falafel. Maybe she will actually be able to stop coughing once we figure out what is causing it. Unfortunately, she has to wait until April when we can actually get an appointment. *sigh*

This week is full of purging and organizing and visiting and preparing and, most of all, reflecting.


I don’t like to make New Year’s resolutions, but I do like the idea of stating intentions. In this next year I would like to give more away, freely. I would like to love a little stronger. I intend to excerise every day, while cutting down on the mass amounts of sugar I have been consuming this holiday season. I intend to write more letters and send more surprises. I want to help our girls help others in need. I want to build this space in blogland into something more.

What are your intentions for 2016?

My dress form is ready for the Holiday


Please excuse the terrible photos. It has been raining non-stop here, and I have been too busy and too lazy to set up the indoor lighting set up.


I asked our local Buy Nothing group if anyone had a broken or unwanted artificial Christmas tree I could have, and of course someone did!  My husband Jim helped me disassemble it, and we made this festive dress for my dress form, Martha (yes, I named my dress form).

She is so sparkly and pretty. I love that the hard work of pulling off all of those branches is done for next year.

I have been elfing up a storm here, and will try and get some decent photos of all the last minte gift ideas tomorrow!

In the Meantime: What have YOU made for the upcoming Holidays?

Details of our whirlwind week
















As I told you yesterday, we went to visit my family on the East Coast for everyone’s birthdays. It was a grand adventure full of laughs and memories that we will all cherish. And we jammed in as much activity as we could. It all began with my Dad’s birthday, and then the very next day we celebrated our Falafel turning 10! The weather in NJ was completely baffling and beautiful. The entire time, the temps ranged between 50-60 degrees. I wore a jacket on this day only, and then was completely happy to be in just a sleeveless tunic the rest of our trip. I was blinking in disbelief at it all. Of course, my hot flashes added to the Summer effect. Ah 43.

The great thing about it being sunny and warm was going to the park for my youngest’s birthday. She was thrilled to have us all together for many hikes on the different paths, and playing on the playground. It was so fantastic to mix up our annual traditions and replace them with something different and fun. Being able to celebrate in person with my parents is something we have never done in both my kids’ lives. Ever. 3000 miles is far. I never take a visit with them for granted.

I whipped up that gold crown the day before we left because I had the brilliant idea of all three of them being able to wear it on their individual special days. I just made it adjustable with a hook and loop closure. Instant royalty! I think that definitely enhanced the experience. Especially since I made the 16 year old wear it out in public. But that is for another post.

Come back tomorrow for Part 2.

Checking in after the long pause

Oh my goodness! I have missed all of you, and this space this past week.

We’ve all had quite the adventure traveling across the country to celebrate three birthdays. My dad, Falafel, AND the Bee all have birthdays the same week, and we have never had the pleasure of celebrating all together…until now.


We are back, and now have a 10 year old.


And a 16 year old.


Since we just returned, and I have about 230 photos to go through, I will just share these few with you. I can’t wait to tell you all we did!


Jet lag and getting readjusted to our time zone (and school/activity schedules) will have me stop here tonight (I am writing this on Tuesday evening). I will have oh so much more to share Wednesday.*YAWN*

What have you all been doing while we were away?