Facebook, Frigid temperatures, and Follansbee Family Fun

I’ve realized lately that I do a lot of complaining about not having any time.  In fact, I just blogged about it last week, and then a lightbulb went off: if I want more time, I need to stop wasting time!!  I need to take all those random, seemingly harmless minutes that I spent on Facebook, and put them to good use.  Do I really need to know what Sally Smith ate for breakfast?  Do I really care what John Johnson thinks about the Patriots’ win?  Do I even remember somebody-something-or-other that I worked with for a couple months nine years ago??  No!

So lately, when I have the urge to go on Facebook, I’ve been forcing myself to fold laundry.  Write a blog post.  Search for a new crock pot recipe.  Whip up a new activity for Charlotte.

It’s been frigidly cold lately.  Which translates to a lot of indoor time for Charlotte ‘Bee.  So here is what we’ve been doing to brave the cold, stay busy, and learn something along the way.  All activities brought to you by the increased time I have, now that I am not spending it on Facebook 🙂

1) Giant Christmas tree/ giant snowman “puzzle”

Felt-on-felt pieces need no extra adhesive!  It’s a little modern-artsy, but Charlotte can make and re-make her puzzles over and over again!


2)  Snow paint

Combine equal parts shaving cream and elmers glue, then add a bit of food coloring.  VERY fun and oozy!


3)  Colored rice/sensory bins

Food coloring, vinegar, and white rice…shake in a bag and then let dry overnight.  Pour all the different colors into a plastic bin together, and you have a wonderful, cooling, sensory experience.  Charlotte loves to scoop, pour, sift, and shake the rice.  Sometimes it even becomes the ingredients in her pretend meal that she’s cooking us.  We also have a dried pasta sensory bin (same idea), and soon to be some more additions!

4)  Water play, and helping in the kitchen

I can’t take full credit for this one, as Fred did all the woodworking.  But we built her a “learning platform” (fancy Mommy blogger name for a stool).  Now she can “help” cook dinner by washing the vegetables, pouring ingredients into the mixing bowl, or stirring things [violently].

She also LOVES standing at a sink full of water and “cleaning the dirty things”.  She thinks she’s washing the dishes, and we praise her for being “such a good helper” but really she’s just pouring water from one vessel to another and getting her shirt soaked.  Such fun!

4)  Memory game

I blew up photos of family faces, then printed two copies.  Mounted on card stock, and Charlotte will have a large Family Memory game to play!  She’s really into finding matches, or things that look alike, so I think she’ll love finding matching faces.  This will be a birthday present…shh  🙂

IMG_1579Next things to try are shaving cream “paint” for the bath tub, a water tub with floating/sinking objects, and I’m working on a homemade photo book of all her favorite people and things that she can “read” to herself.  Oh, and what about extra time for myself?  I’m going to sleep a little earlier, I’m making healthier and more creative lunches for myself, and working hard at using easy-to-prep weeknight meals.  That pays off by more time for all of us to play after supper!




It’s been a busy summer here at the Follansbee house, trying to get our new pad up and running the way we want it.  It’s a lot of work to buy the house, and then even more work to make it your own!

We’ve had a number of DIY projects going on simultaneously…which is always an adventure when you have a pregnant Mama ‘Bee, and a toddler ‘Bee that is not in day care all summer!  Fred takes care of the outside and heavy lifting projects, while I’ve been free to focus my energy on more creative and decorative tasks.  Here’s a peek at what we’ve been up to…

We’ve been converting an old dining room into a playroom for the kids, since we are having a nanny and the kids will be home all school year.  They need space to play, and room to hold their growing collection of toys!  I made these picture labels so that we can start to teach Charlotte how to put her toys away in the correct places (click on the pictures to enlarge):

As mentioned above, our nanny comes to join the family one week from now!  She is actually an international au pair, traveling from Italy this year to live with us.  Her name is Ilaria, and she is currently a hair stylist by trade and has been an au pair in Belgium before.  Needless to say, we needed to turn our spare bedroom/junk collection area into a proper home for her!  Here are the before and after shots:

With cabinet space being almost non-existent, we’ve had to come up with some creative storage.  Here is our magnetic spice rack, affixed to the refrigerator door: IMG_0885







Fred is building a sandbox for the backyard!  Charlotte is really into textures and scooping/pouring lately, so hopefully it will get a lot of use this fall (and not just by the cats).


Fred also built us a compost bin this spring:

Of course, with all the DIY-ing going on, Charlotte couldn’t be left out of the fun.  Here she is finger painting a masterpiece in the backyard.