It’s not as bad as you think

I have this bad habit of talking myself out of things. It’s the afternoon, and it’s time to go to the gym. At the gym, we play basketball/tag/keep away/etc. in the gym, I run on the treadmill, and then we go swimming. But for some reason, at 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon it all seems like SO much work.

Every morning, I am scheduled to start work shortly after I get up in the morning. I’m supposed to go down to the basement and make toys before Caleb wakes up. But somehow, some mornings, going down to the cold, dusty basement seems horrible. I’d much rather stay up stairs surfing the web, reading blogs and articles until Caleb wakes up and I miss my window.

And last night I just couldn’t face doing the dinner dishes. The lasagna pan was just too stuck on, and it just seemed like an endless night of doing dishes. So I didn’t do them. And of course this morning, they seemed worse, and plus I had work to do. So I didn’t do them until after dinner tonight.

And you know what? It only took me about 10 minutes to do last night’s dishes and tonight’s dishes (and our lunch dishes). And it was kind of pleasant: the warm water, the dirty dishes becoming clean, my shiny sink at the end.

And after skipping the gym 2 days in a row, I made myself go this afternoon, and it was (of course) good fun–as it always is.

And this morning, I did my pushups and went straight down to the basement. I cut ten sets of keys, drilled, and dremeled them. Then I got started on the owls that I’ve been putting off for weeks. I cut 19 of them, and then started sanding them. And then the creative juices were flowing, and I decided to make NEW TOYS (more on that tomorrow, when I have pictures).

So why do I have this problem??

It’s not as bad as I think. And you know what? The things you are putting off, aren’t as bad as you think either.

So shut the laptop, put your phone down, and go hang up the laundry or do the dishes or sweep the floor. Go for a run. Do some pushups. You’ll be glad you did.

Because, it’s really not as bad as you think.




Spring Equinox

This post is a few days late, I suppose. On Thursday, I wanted to do a little something special for the Vernal Equinox. Nothing fancy, just an acknowledgement that the days of light were on their way. I saw this cute little craft on the Magic Onions blog, and I knew it was perfect.

Eggshell Candles

Literally we made candles with real egg shells as the vessels. I used eggs to make my desserts, and I remembered not to destroy three of them. My friend gave us these eggs, so they were even special eggs.

Caleb helped me cut the wicks and stand them up, and then I pored the wax into the shells (and made a bit of a mess as I was poring right out of a pot).

While the beeswax was cooling and hardening into candles, we took a hike up our little mountain. I was on the lookout for signs of life, but the only thing I found was some scrubby bush with teeny tiny buds, so I picked that for our table.





I used play dough to stabilize the eggs. They are really lovely when they’re lit. I’ll definitely make more of them this spring when these run out of wax.

What are your favorite spring crafts?


Excellent Article-The Overprotected Kid plus “adventure” yard Plan

There is an awesome article in the Atlantic called “The Overprotected Kid.” It’s in the same vein as Lenore Skenazy’s book Free-Range Kids (which, I love). And it preaches a message that I think cannot be overemphasized in today’s culture.

The author starts by describing an adventure playground in Wales where kids build stuff and start fires and play in the creek, and it made me LONG for a decent playground near me. Heck, I’d settle for a park that actually had children at it.

But the description made me determined that this summer, I want our yard to be an adventure playground for my son and the only 3 kids that ever leave their home in our neighborhood.

My plan:

1. SAND and water

I finally feel like I have enough money to do a sand box the way I think sand boxes should be: by the dump truck load. Since we have no natural water on our property (and sand and water go together like a glove on a hand), I’ll put a baby pool or some other type of tub (if I can find something stronger and better than said baby pool) next to the sand.


2. Tools and Wood

Somehow my little handsaw got lost or stolen, so I’m going to replace that (which worked better even for me than a full-size saw much less for Caleb’s little hands) and add a sharp hatchet to the mix together with various hammers and a collection of nails.

I’ll also keep a supply of my scraps handy where the kids can get to them and use them. And I want to do better with collected trashed wood and pallets to have more wood he can use.

3. Rope Swing

For a while, there was a grape vine hanging down from our one big tree that the kids could swing on, but being a vine, it dried out and broke. I want to get a good rope hung up with some knots to stand on and swing.

4. Buckets, shovels, and the like

I recommend a short wooden handled metal shovel. This has a pointed digging tip, and it is shorter than a regular shovel, but it is NOT a “kids” shovel. Those things are cheap and will barely see you through a summer. You can find these short handled real shovels at any major retailer.

Buckets should also be tough, with sturdy handles. Those beach buckets aren’t going to cut it. Keep an eye out for empty containers too.



Of course, we also live on a wooden little mountain that the kids can hike and play on as well. And there are the dirt piles on the street above ours that the town workers use for filling in holes and whatnot.

Let me know of other things that you think would be great for our “adventure” yard, and I’ll post updates on our progress.



Happy Birthday to Me, Presents for You

Today is my 30th birthday, and I must say, I’m pretty excited about it.

I celebrated by working all day. My mother came to visit me, so she took my son out for most of the day, and left me to work. Everyone had fun, and I worked on some new trucks.

I guess that’s a sign that I’m in love with my job. When given the choice of doing anything I want (in town) for my birthday, I chose making toys.

My vocation is one reason why THIRTY doesn’t scare me. I’m very happy where I am, doing what I’m doing. And it seems like a marvelous thing to have lived 30 years.

If you think about aging as one day closer to death, you will be miserable that you are a decade older. But I was just thinking how lucky we humans are to live so long. Thirty isn’t even scratching the surface. Most mammals get less than 20 years.

Yes, there is a tinge of regret that I may never have another child, but I feel that I lucked out getting one to begin with, so any more would be icing on the cake anyway.

Last month, as I was trying to get back in shape (still trying), my knees were bothering me, and I felt OLD all of the sudden. But with some more work, I’m feeling good again, and I have determined to never sacrifice my physical fitness for my job again. I’d much rather be a little bit poorer with a strong healthy body, than a little richer with weak joints and muscles and a weak heart.

In my twenties, I learned a lot about what was really important, and I’m definitely a happier, more whole person going out of them than I was coming into them.

Anyway, the finished models aren’t quite done yet, but the test model was made a few weeks ago. Caleb has enough trucks, so I’m giving this one away to you!

Big Lumber Truck





This truck is for serious hauling. It can carry enough blocks or lincoln logs for a small house! And of course, I had to make it with holes for people to drive the truck, because trucks are just more fun with people.

The Big Lumber Truck is 4.5 inches wide and 12 inches long. It fits people that are 7/8th’s of an inch in diameter.

I’ll post more pictures later of the version that I will be selling, but for now, post a comment below about why you like wooden toys, and you’ll be entered to win this truck.




Spring into Exercising

Remember all that crap I said in the fall about how I wasn’t going to get caught up with work and stop exercising until January? Well, it was crap. I didn’t do a thing for months besides work and eat too many tortilla chips (and not even the baked ones) and Christmas candy.

And I’m paying the price for that now to the tune of 10 or so extra pounds, and hard work to get back in shape. But we’re settling into our post-Christmas routine: work and play indoors in the morning, eat lunch, putter, and go to the gym in the afternoons for shooting hoops, running on the treadmill, and swimming in the pool.

And let me tell you how good it feels to start moving again. It feels almost as good as it’s going to feel come spring to not have to drip my faucet every night to keep the pipes from freezing.

We’ve also instituted a time for calisthenics in the morning. After we’ve been sitting on the floor getting stiff from an hour of game (or lego) playing, we get up and do some jumping jacks and crunches and pushups. Caleb is taking gymnastics, so even he comes up with some new exercises that he does in class.

Did you lose your workout time over the holidays/cold weather? What are you doing to get in shape? What are your tricks for motivating yourself?