Making Crayons

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Ben tests out our work

Ben and I made crayons today. He’s desperately been needing mommy time (this social media/blogging/internet-foundation-building thing takes serious time!).

We have billions of little bits of crayons in a tub that we’ve been adding to for years, all from restaurant and various activity packs.

Ben wanted rainbow stars for the first batch, so we used a latex mold that I snagged from Goodwill for $.99. We started by selecting the colors of the rainbow– ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet), peeled them, and then I chopped them up. We talked all about rainbows and primary and secondary colors while we worked.

After we chopped the crayons, we put the layers into the mold. We decided to start with violet on the bottom and then work our way up to red, which created a few really nicely layered crayons. We also made some crayons with different tints of the same colors, which we just poured into the molds randomly to create a marbled effect.

After the molds were filled, we placed the mold on a baking sheet and baked at 200┬░ F for about 15 minutes. When the crayons were fully melted, I pulled them out (very carefully, as we had some overflow!) and let them sit to cool for about 45 minutes.

We lost some of the arms off of the stars, since that particular mold gets rigid once it cools off, but the more flexible vehicle mold that we filled next worked perfectly.

So, there you go! You don’t need a fancy boxed ‘crayon maker’. You just need some dedicated molds (even a muffin pan would work) and some stubs and bits of used crayons. I don’t recommend using the molds for food afterwards, as there’s always some dye left over, no matter how long you soak them in hot water.

Lessons in color, up-cycling, creativity, and just plain fun times. Do make sure that your little one doesn’t attempt to grab the crayons when you pull them out of the oven, though– the melted texture is very conducive to inquisitive fingers!

Bits of used crayons

Peeling the papers off

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Talking rainbows

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Filling the molds

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The filled mold– pre-baking

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Post-oven, cooling off

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Cuttin’ Rings

Cuttin' Rings

Damon (10) & Joe (the husband) are cutting thousands of rings for our jewelry supply shop & to make more chainmaille jewelry for our jewelry shop and the quickly upcoming Made In Vancouver, USA Mother’s Day Event & Sale. They’ve been working non-stop all week!

The Best Toy In The World Is…. A Flax Pillow??

The Best Toy In The World Is.... A Flax Pillow??

So it turns out that the oddest things really are the best toys.
Ben (4 years old) has latched onto a flax seed pillow that I recently got from The Rarest Bird on etsy:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheRarestBird
I thought it would be great for my sore back, but it really does work better as a helmet, shield, boat, and weighted shoulder bag. And in case you’re wondering, that’s a sword made by my other son, Damon, from a branch. Action figures? No thank you, Ben will take his flax pillow and branch every time.

4/4/2013
Update on Ben’s flax pillow obsession: I decided that I wanted mine back, so I ordered him his own from The Rarest Bird. Much to my surprise, he chose the lovebirds fabric rather than the Surf Ninja fabric. He’s had it for just under 24 hours and hasn’t released it. Bonus (for me, not for my husband, Joe who hates flowery smells): he always smells like lavender!

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My Dreams Versus My Reality, From a Parenting Perspective

I like to say that motherhood drives me insane while maintaining my sanity. I think that nails it. I can’t imagine my life without my four boys and the beautiful mess of our current suburban life, but I do dream (guiltily) of the day when my husband and I will wave goodbye to our youngest and pack all of our belongings onto an RV and set out to live our own life. Or maybe it will be a yurt in the forest. That’s a long dream away… it has some time to develop.

Raising our boys in this day and age has been an ongoing battle of conscience. When we first got married and started on our family, monetary restraints kept us from purchasing the land that we wanted for our boys so desperately. So we settled into suburbia, where the jobs were plentiful and the rent cheap. Now, 12 years later, our boys are settled into their lives and the community, and it doesn’t seem to be in their best interest to leave the life that we’ve established here.

My dreams of country rough-and-tumble boys have moved aside for the reality of our tech-savvy genius bookworms. They don’t know how to make forts from wood they’ve cut themselves. They do know how to build forts on the computer with their physics and engineering games. Not quite as useful from a survival standpoint, but they are establishing the tools that will help them to survive in this new world of technology. I do rail against that a lot of the time, but not educating them in how our culture is beginning to work would be to put them at a disadvantage, knowing that they are who they are.

One of the hardest parts of parenting that I’ve experienced so far is reconciling the person that you want your child to be with the person that they really are, deep down inside.

My boys and me in Yellowstone NP
See the disgruntled look in the middle there? That’s what we get for taking the technology away to view natural wonders. Yellowstone NP, 2012