Sunday, July 13, 2014

"What's today's adventure?"

Not to sound too morbid, but we don't really know how much time we have. We do know our time as children is limited for sure. Thinking that way, it just makes sense to try to enjoy each day and have adventures whenever and where ever possible. Expanding on this idea of finding and appreciating experiences, here are a few simple ways to make anything a fun adventure.

Take out the coin,
but leave the map in your pocket.
Get lost. This is not as scary as it may seem. Thanks to cell phones with GPS, we can never get too lost. We do like having a good wander, though. One way we like to wander is by letting a coin toss choose our directions. When we come to an intersection, we flip a coin to decide which way to go. One side is left and one side is right. It is a totally random form of navigating, and it leads us to some pretty cool discoveries. We play this game at the zoo to lead us to new animal discoveries or when we just want to have a wander around DC. This brought us to a cool sculpture garden one day. Who knows if we ever would have chosen that on our own, but it was really neat, and the girls remember it as their discovery.

Become a photojournalist for a day. The girls become much more interested in finding the cool things around them when they are holding cameras. Instead of whining about where they wish they were or what they wish they were seeing, they start looking for the value in the present moment. They have friends and cousins scattered all over, so there is always an excuse to document what's around us. "Take pictures to show *insert name* what *insert location* is like." When we get home, we can relive the adventure by sorting through the pictures, picking the best ones, then printing and sending them off with letters to loved ones.

Photos my daughter took on her adventures. The white squirrel was an extra fun find.
Collect facts. This works best when we go to museums. The girls each bring a notebook and pen then try to collect as many new facts as they can. When they see something interesting, they write it down or draw a picture of it. Then on the way home, they share what they learned.

Make up biographies. Even adults have trouble enjoying waiting. A lot of life is waiting, though, so we might as well have fun with it. Whether we are waiting for the Metro or the plane or for the movie to start, we can still come up with a way to be aware of what is around us and enjoy it. Look around at all the other people. Pick one and create a biography of them. Where are they going? Why are they here? Create whole stories about them. Every person has a story, and it is important to remember that. Playing this game not only keeps everyone occupied and paying attention, it also serves as a reminder that all those people buzzing around us are humans with lives and feelings and stories, too.

Anything can be an adventure as long as we approach it with the right attitude, keep our eyes open, and enjoy life while we can.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Another Quick and Easy Fix - t-shirt pillowcase dresses or tunics

My daughters love their dad. A lot. Borderline hero worship. So when he gives them his old t-shirts, they treasure those things. Tato's old shirts are their favorite night gowns, lazy day dresses, snuggling on the couch after a bath gear, etc. They are a bit lacking in style, though. Here is a super quick, super easy fix to the style problem.

First grab an old t-shirt. My husband has tons, but only actually wears a few. Finding some to cut up is never hard here. If you don't want to cut up one of your own, thrift stores always have a lot to choose from. Bigger ones make longer dresses or tunics (my excuse for not cutting up my own).

Then just cut off the sides and top. You can cut it in a slight A line shape if you want. Be careful to cut straight, parallel lines or the finished product looks a bit wonky, but don't stress too much about it. The t-shirt fabric stretches and warps itself anyway covering mild imperfections.

To make cute little decorative flowers, cut circles out of the sleeves. About 2 inches diameter is a good size. You can cut any shape, but circles are the easiest.

Grab one more t-shirt in a coordinating color and cut off the bottom then a 1-2 inch strip just above that. Cut the ends to make the two drawstrings for the collar/shoulders of the dress. You can also cut some 1 inch diameter circles to be the centers of the decorative flowers.

Now the sewing starts. Sew up the sides stopping about 8 inches from the top. Fold over the top (wrong sides together) 1 inch and stitch 1/4 inch from the raw edge to make a tunnel for the drawstring.

The most time consuming part of the project is stitching on the flowers. A simple X in the middle holds them in place and allows them to flop and ruffle. Arrange them any way you like.

Attach a safety pin to one end of one of the drawstrings and thread it through one tunnel. Repeat with the other one.

That's it. An ugly old t-shirt is now an adorable pillowcase dress. On my older daughter, these are tunics which look great with leggings or capri jeans. On me, they are cute little tank tops. All in all, the whole project takes less than an hour making it another quick and easy fix for sure.