Ahhh yes, what tiny, brightly-colored plastic bricks can do for a house filled with children on a rainy day! Lego’s are simply a part of our family’s daily routine. Within a week or even a day, full civilizations are built and destroyed – sometimes not by the architect, which then leads to an outpouring of tears and the taking away of said bricks. So when we decided to plan a birthday party extravaganza, merging three summer birthdays, the natural choice for the theme? You guessed it… Legoland!
With a bit of collaborative planning, we decided that they would build cars and race them as a main activity. While the birthday kids were at camp, my oldest daughter & I trekked over to the mall to scope out ideas. I had figured that each could invite 4 friends and with the cousins & neighbors, we were soon up to 20 party favors! Ay Caramba! Well considering it was a merged party, the budget could go a little further on favors, so I was still optimistic… that is, until I quickly realized that the smallest Lego kit for a basic car with 70 pieces cost $5.99 each! Keep in mind that more than half of those pieces are no larger than a pencil eraser… and as you will recall, they are PLASTIC… Let’s compute, shall we?
20 sugared up party goers
x $6.35 the inflated price of each tiny plastic kit with tax included
= $127.00, the room spinning and Mommy seeing stars at the register
WRONG!!! There had to be a much, MUCH better way of working out this madness! We purchased one 1/2 priced birthday kit with favors for 10 kids, so I could rationally inspect the value once we got home and I had cooled my jets. An in-law purchased another birthday kit, so we were good on themed invites & little LEGO people. Then after more research at home, and pulling out the creative fairy wand ~ Hey! Desperate times, desperate measures!… I had the makings of Plan B ready for action! I was on a mission!… Project LEGO Lemonade was a go!!!
Fortunately, we have a LEGO store in our local mall, where we promptly formed an assembly line: Tire! Wheel! Axel! Sort, count, hand off… and I hovered over 2 tall bulk containers filling them ever so tightly… beginning with the microscopic pieces, then the larger base plates in the middle, round pieces, fill in with more micro pieces, tip, shift and settle… next layer… All of this on a Saturday no less! Other parents probably thought I was nuts, but I didn’t care… I was in the Zone! I lost count a few times, but at the end of it all, I had 2 full buckets ~ that the kindly sales people allowed me to tape the lids over for my final layers. Once we broke it all out over the kitchen table, we had just enough for 18 cars, then completed the other sets with like parts we had in the playroom! Reassessment computation…
2 plumply filled bulk Lego buckets x $14.89 for each container with tax included =
$29.78 + Mommy’s sanity restored… priceless!
In the week following, I instructed the kids to build basic cars, so I could determine how many remaining pieces we would need. With a coupon for a local toy store, it cost another $30 for a box of 650 basic bricks in the Builder of Tomorrow Set (6177), to complete the car kits. So as the adage goes: When the toy store gives you lemons, go to Plan B!…
Mission LEGO Lemonade accomplished!
For more perspectives on the theme for this week’s photo challenge “Wrong”
or just to join in on the fun, visit:
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Oftentimes I will find a photograph in a magazine that inspires a project or determination to figure out how to replicate or reconceptualize a design. One of these pictures was a miniature wreath created by pine cones. I was immediately drawn to the simplicity and elegance of this piece. Years later, as I was planning my winter wedding reception, this image returned to my mind, and the concept for our centerpieces was born!
My parents live in South Carolina surrounded by magnificent Loblolly pine trees that yield thousands of HUGE pine cones. We collected bags of fallen cones during one of our visits. Then my mum shipped extra boxes as we cried out for more! It turned into a family project to tediously pull each scale off of the cones. But eventually, with the hot glue gun in hand and some perseverance, a finished wreath emerged ready for painting and of course, the shimmer effect!
This was also a great way for our children to contribute to making decorations for the ceremony and reception as we all became more excited for the upcoming wedding!
Later, we used the wreaths to decorate our new house for our first Christmas together as a family!
May we continue to grow in love,
as we create new family memories together
in our days ahead…
For more information about joining in on the weekly photo challenge, go to: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/weekly-photo-challenge-growth/
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Have you ever just needed to get your toes in the sand?…
Thunderstorms in the forecast, sweltering heat advisories in effect… sounds like a day trip to the beach to me!
Apparently, this was not as original a plan as I had anticipated because we landed in miles of traffic with other like-minded, coastally obsessive optimists.
Undeterred, we headed toward Ocean City, Maryland, then passed over to Assateague Island. I had been there only once in my 20’s, but had never seen any of the wild ponies I had read and heard so much about. So I could sense the excitement welling up inside me as we finally broke through the backups and began to see sand along the roadways. Once we parked and unloaded, I felt weeks of tension easing out of my body with every soothing breeze and relaxing sound of waves breaking and rushing toward the shore…
I was able to capture a few purple shots for the weekly challenge with my Kodak Easy Share C813… hahaha!!! Sorry, I couldn’t resist! I love admiring the photographs taken by ‘real’ cameras, posted in photo blogs… I just don’t happen to own one yet, so my camera model disclosure serves as a sort of disclaimer. Just to really give you a sense of my photographic limitations, I don’t even have a viewfinder in my camera! On a really sunny day, when it is impossible to see anything projected on the 2-inch screen, capturing an image becomes more intuitive… much like using the Force. Yes, it’s true… I am a photographic Jedi… now you know! 🙂 So these pictures should really knock your socks off!
Fast forward a few hours… and I was feeling a bit saddened by the lack of ponies on the beach. There was plenty of… er, let’s say… evidence that they had been there earlier in the day, but as far as I could strain my eyes, there wasn’t a hoof in sight. So gathering all of our gear, and with swimsuits full of sand, we scrambled back to the van.
My husband suggested that we drive further down the island toward the National Park with the hope that a few ponies might be snacking along the side of the road. We drove, scouring waterways and groves of trees… Then suddenly, just as we rounded a bend, there they were!!! I was ELATED!!! You would think I had never seen a horse before in my life. Well, in a sense this was a new experience — I had never seen a wild pony before!! They were much larger than I had imagined. I thought they would be more like miniature ponies – I have absolutely no idea why – and despite my husband’s elaboration of what I envisioned an Assateague pony to be… NO, I did not believe that they would be sparkly and gallop between rainbows in the sand! Although, that would have made for some great pictures!
…BACK to reality, though… I don’t know what it is about coming into contact with an animal in its natural habitat, that is so exciting. In our yard, we see deer, rabbits, a red fox here and again. But it doesn’t matter how many times we see them, we always run to the window for another look. That sense of admiration may change when I finally get my garden in the ground sometime next spring, but for the time being, we feel privileged to get a glimpse into their mysterious world. That was how I felt with these amazing ponies…
My entire weekend felt complete! …that is to say, until our bellies started rumbling… So we headed off to a local favorite called Waterman’s Seafood Company. Being Marylanders, you just don’t go to the beach without gettin’ some crab! I had two of my favorites… Cream of Crab soup and a Crab Cake! They were DEE-lish!!!