Monday, July 18, 2016

Crafting with Kids: Painted Rock Garden Bugs

Summer is going by so quickly. I believe that Andy Williams was very much mistaken when he sang about Christmas being the most wonderful time of the year for as much as I love sleigh bells, hot cocoa, and celebrating the birth of Jesus, it is the sweet summertime with its sunny skies, warm temperatures, and outdoor activities that I look forward to most of all! Unfortunately, there is something about summertime that suddenly makes time just take off in a sprint and that's how I feel this summer has been so far: An absolute whirlwind!

Paul has been busy tearing up our deck and making our backyard an absolute hazard. He told me the other day on his way to work: "Don't let the kids go out on the deck, they might get splinters. Actually, just don't let them in the backyard period because there are probably nails and pieces of wood all over the grass." Fantastic. Don't let the kids outside when it's summer. We've been taking full advantage of the parks in our area.

This was the massive graffiti session that took place right before the deconstruction of the deck began!

In between ripping up the deck and getting a killer farmer's tan, Paul has also been grilling a lot. I am so so grateful that he loves to grill because I really hate having the oven on when it is hot and humid outside. Hamburgers, brats, and smoked fish have been go-to dinners and Paul is always more than willing to grill anything. However, he did have a teensy little accident the other day when he was grilling barefoot and a hot coal tumbled out onto the grass from the chimney starter he was emptying and he stepped on it with his big flat foot. The result was a big blister and a whiny husband. The invalid sat nursing his sore foot with ice and a manly pink washcloth while I was forced to finish the grilling. I was smart and wore shoes. And burnt the hot dogs.

Beer to numb the pain in his foot. 
The kids and I have busied ourselves with lots of beach time, visits to local farms, hikes, and the occasional craft or project. Matthew and Emma both love to paint and "help" me with creative additions to the house. Matthew has actually come up with some pretty awesome craft ideas that have turned into fun projects that we have all enjoyed. However, Emma is the one who came up with the most recent family project. While taking a walk around our neighborhood, Emma pointed out a stone she had spied in a flower bed that was painted like a ladybug. To my horror, she picked it up and declared that she was going to take it home because "it is just so cute!" I told her that it wasn't ours and told her to put it back. She did, slowly and reluctantly, and we continued on our walk. A short while later Emma, still thinking about the cute rock she had left behind, asked, "Mommy, can we make some of those?" I thought that was a great idea and told the kids that we could make them for our new flower bed!

Paul and I are very proud of the new flower bed in front of our house. There used to be these nasty juniper bushes filling that spot, but we dug them out last summer and planted a whole bunch of cute little flower plants in their stead. The plants all flower at different points throughout the summer and fall, so the logic behind the planting was that there would always be some type of flowers blooming. So far, we have been successful in that nothing has died on us! Matthew already added a couple mini American flags to the flower bed so I thought a couple painted rocks would also be a nice personalized touch.

While Emma was very excited to be painting ladybugs, Matthew suggested that we also paint some bees. I collected some outdoor acrylic paints as well as a glossy sealer for our rocks, and then we headed to the beach and the creek to search for flat, smooth rocks for our project. While we were out collecting, Matthew found one particularly ugly, scraggly-looking rock and he declared that he was going to paint it to look like a Woolly Mammoth. Having no idea what he was talking about, I just agreed that he could keep it and kept on collecting rocks.

Painting the rocks was so much fun! The kids were surprisingly helpful and not messy at all. Emma helped with painting the bodies of the bugs black and then Matthew, Amy, and I added the details. I was very impressed with Matthew's painting skills. When he puts his mind to things, he is surprisingly neat and detail-oriented! The paint dried very quickly so we didn't have to hang around long to see our project finished. Amy sprayed them with the sealer and allowed them to dry overnight just to be sure and soon they were ready to be scattered outside. The kids were so excited to help me distribute the rocks in the flower bed. I think they look pretty cute!

Oh, and Matthew did paint his Woolly Mammoth and carefully put it next to his Cosmos plant to "protect it from the garden spiders." I think it's pretty cute - see the trunk and tusks he painted on it? He grew that Cosmos plant himself during Kindergarten and brought it home at the end of the school year. We planted it in the garden along with the rest of the flowering plants and it has just thrived. Matthew is very proud of it.

Next, we are going to paint larger, flat rocks with the kids' hand and feet prints and we are going to set those up along the retaining wall. That was Amy's suggestion but she abandoned us before we had the chance to finish it. I think I'm going to have a rough time getting Lucy's footprints without her here to assist me in holding the child down long enough to get a good print!

If you are in search of a fun, easy, and semi-enjoyable summer activity, I highly recommend painting some rocks for your garden! I love that these little mementos will be around for a while as little reminders of fun, lazy summers with my kids while they were young.


  1. These are so cute!! I love that Emma had the idea!

  2. These are soooo cute!!! And the kids are too!

    I'll be sharing this on social media and featuring it this week for Tuesday Talk!

    -Jessica, Sweet Little Ones