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How Pinterest Saved My Summer Parenting Plans

My Pinterest Project Chalkboard, Zoe designs for 4th of July

  Before I was a Mom, I once spent a fabulous vacation with Martha Stewart. An entire week cooking, crafting and fussing around my new house, just me & Martha. I followed bookmarked pages from Martha ‘s magazine and splurged on Martha's new appetizer cookbook. It was a DIY week of domestic goodness culminating with a baby shower I would host for a dear friend.On the day of the shower, I filled pitchers with Martha's sparkling spritzer punch and spent the afternoon stuffing tiny green grapes with herb seasoned goat cheese. My husband, who offered to clean up the demolished kitchen, was hovering nearby anxiously checking his watch. My memory of what happened next is fuzzy, but looking back we both agree that I was running late, too anxious and approaching " it's-gotta-be-perfect-like-Martha" freak-out full hysteria. I was projecting my panic when he took the patio hose he was using to fill the mop bucket and aimed it right at me. I ended up very wet and kinda pissed, but my mood was much more manageable.

I remembered this hose drenching today when I was reading online how Pinterest today is making some women  feel that same " I gotta be perfect” pressure. Nope, not me. Pinterest is helping me parent this summer. And to say it more emphatically, Pinterest is my parenting save this summer. 

In my early days of motherhood, a checkout line splurge on Martha Stewart Living, or Sunset Magazine would provide 45 minutes of unrealistic, day dreaming, drooling pleasure.... Until my baby woke up from her nap.

I am now a mom of tween girls, a special needs advocating mom, a writer mom with a home office, a marketing mom, and wife & partner  to a husband who owns his own creative small business. I am a homemaker in a home that is now fifteen years old, and a Mom in a body that has carried two kids. I still long to craft and DIY, but I have less time and less money to make Martha's sparkling spritzer.

And to be honest the record hot summer days in Scottsdale can stretch on and on , and with tween girls sibling squabbles, they get grumpy very quick. With my girls health issues, in and out of the car throughout the day is not a good option and so we spend a lot of time at home, with quick dips in the pool and me saying NO all the time to incessant requests for time on the laptop, the ipad and the iphone. 

Have you ever tried to compete with an IPAD? Almost anything you can think of may not sound as fun to a kid as time on the ipad. Board games to computer games.. well you get the picture.  Recently I sat Olivia, my almost 13 year old down. I was beyond exasperated, and with nothing left to draw from said “ Hey, don’t you think I WOULD LOVE to spend all day on MY ipad? But guess what? It’s not healthy, so it’s not gonna happen. So instead we are making our way through summer with the Just Dance Wii Cheerleader Bootcamp, card games, new recipes, books to read, afternoon movies and creative time at the kitchen table.

Enter Pinterest.  My girls and I crafted a lot when they were young, but these days it is mostly an occasional event. A holiday, birthday or seasonal thing.  Cooking fresh food and baking is something we do a lot of too, so I warmed them up first with a few projects that revolved around fun food: S’More Snacks, Mini-pies, Nutella zucchini muffins, basically I bribed them with sweets to get started.

Soon my girls realized that Pinterest is not just about Mom’s sometime dinner recipe fails. There are chocolate desserts on Pinterest and other fun stuff. Soon we were creating our own project inspirations; Bleach designer t-shirts,  Watercolor Ink t-shirts, Cool Ice Chalk , Easy Mandala designs, Neon Sharpie Converse Creations, Neon Sharpie library bags, Summer Nightlight, Fourth of July Lanterns,Bead bracelets, Crazy popcorn snacks and more. Pinterest has all sorts of resources that inspire me to adapt each craft for Zoe's abilities, the encouraged use of stencils, pre-cutting some supplies, adding cardboard to items for stability..

And really we are finding fun because making stuff has all the requirements kids like; you create to your individual style , you can gently laugh together at what you make, and we usually get dirty and make a mess in the process. Success. 

My Pinterest Project Chalkboard, Zoe designs for 4th of July



So we come together and craft for a few hours. Creating stuff has inspired us all, Olivia is drawing more on the desk in her room, Zoe is making her own collages , cutting and glueing, creating poster size art and I whipped my living room into summer shape the other day with some easy DIY decorating.

Last Sunday , after a trip to the library, I had nothing much planned , yet still my “ almost “ teen had already spent some major time on her IPAD. So after my “ No More Ipad” decree and some tears,  Olivia was faced with  a long empty afternoon so she hit the craft cupboard, pulling out , this and that- requesting odd items from me and my hidden stash.. I left her alone to create and 2 hours later, she had finished a “ clubhouse”  for her  younger sister Zoe’s Barbies. 

Zoe still cries over the fact that she has lost her best playmate, her big sister who no longer wants to be down on the floor in Zoe’s make believe world of Barbies and Monster High dolls. So when Olivia showed me her custom painted cardboard clubhouse, complete with furniture , paintings on the wall, windows and rugs on the floor, I was moved. 

Somehow Olivia knew that even though she didn’t want to play with Zoe anymore, giving her the gift of pretend play would be the best gift ever. 


Clubhouse For Zoe, Made by Olivia

I passed Zoe’s bedroom and saw Olivia putting the clubhouse down, I heard Zoe’s oohs and ahhs, but even better I heard Olivia tell her “ I know you miss playing with me Zoe, so I made this just for you. Let me show you how to play with it”. 

An unexpected gift on a long, hot summer afternoon.

Follow Me on Pinterest- I have a special board For Special Needs Families, and lot's of other cool stuff pinned! You can also find some of my fun projects at Moonfrye.com, where I post weekly! 

DIY Fourth of July- Fun Family Lanterns

Supplies: Twine, to hold the weight of the jar, burlap ribbon scraps, Red, white and blue printed art to cut into scraps, if printing use card stock or heavy paper. Mini American Flag removed from dowel, Modge Podge, Different textured papers or wraps. The red checkered texture on the small lantern is the red webbing that our Cutie oranges come wrapped in, Mini battery lights, Super thick and sturdy rubber bands. 

How-To: For the large lantern, single American flag design we went with a large mason jar. Removing the mini flag from it's dowel we just wrapped it around securing with several loops of twine, wrapped around the circumference of the jar. The effect was a kind of cool, vintage American look and better yet, we can recycle into something else later! I wrapped a super strong , twine colored rubber band around the top neck opening of the jar and secured twine from each side. This hangs nicely from our patio- by day I use it as a counter top decoration.  

For the smaller lantern, we first painted the jar with Modge Podge . You don't have to use conventional flag print outs, anything red, white and blue can be cut into strips for an Americana flag effect. Cut your own strips or stars in patriotic colors. Adhere strips of paper to top coat of Modge Podge, paint another coat to cover and hold. We then added a layer of texture using the red webbing material over the top, covered with another coat of Modge Podge. Wrap twine colored rubber bands around top. Trim with burlap ribbon and use twine to secure each side of jar, beneath rubber band. Hang if desired. 

I filled each jar with bright white LED batter powered lights- Enjoy all the sparkles This Fourth of July!