Halloween Preschool Crafts

halloween preschool17

This week I had the pleasure to teach at my sister’s co-op preschool… and the theme is Halloween! I was super excited to help out because there are so many fun Halloween crafts and activities for kids. And they are EASY too! Here are some spooky but friendly ideas for your little one to do.

Puzzle Pumpkin Name

Cut out pumpkin shape. Write name on it. Draw lines between each letter and cut. Mix letters around and help child arrange them in the correct order. Glue on to paper and add a cute green pumpkin stem!

halloween preschool8

halloween preschool halloween preschool1

halloween preschool2

halloween preschool3

halloween preschool15

halloween preschool16

Spider Handprints

Trace child’s hand on black construction paper. Cut out two handprints and a circle. Glue each handprint on to the back of the circle. Attach googly eyes on to the face… because what kid doesn’t love googly eyes?!

halloween preschool4

\halloween preschool9

halloween preschool5
halloween preschool6

halloween preschool7

Handprint Witch

Trace child’s hand on paper. Color green or another preferable color for a witch’s face. Trace and cut out a witch’s hat. Glue on to the top of the traced hand. Give her eyes, a nose, and a mouth. Draw on crazy witch hair, a broom to fly on, stars, and a moon. And wah-la! Beautiful art work to display for Halloween.

halloween preschool10

halloween preschool11

halloween preschool12

halloween preschool13

halloween preschool14

Happy Halloween and happy crafting!!

Heather signature

Just like riding a bike

choose faith instead of fear

My sweet, eldest son deals with anxiety and has had to work on overcoming many fears in his life so far. We have an ongoing conversation in our family about choosing faith over fear that started a few weeks ago when my boys asked an innocent question that got them a very serious answer they didn’t see coming. I shared the story on my personal Facebook account:

A couple days ago, the boys were telling me about the lockdown drills they had to practice at school. They wanted to know why it was important. I tried to be honest without completely frightening them, but I probably overdid it telling my kids that shootings can happen at school. {My oldest son} started having a little panic attack despite my efforts to help him calm down. It about broke my heart and I didn’t know what to do. Then I felt inspired to talk to him about choosing faith instead of fear. We talked about how faith feels a lot like trust, and how he trusts Mom and Dad but he can trust his Heavenly Father even more. I told him he could pray any time he was afraid and ask for the Holy Ghost to comfort him. He said the sweetest prayer and was able to calm down. We are trying to study about faith this week. Luckily, God is the ultimate parent, and He knew what to do even when I didn’t. I’m so grateful that the words were given to me when I didn’t know what to say.

So, yeah, initially not the best parenting moment on my part (it’s so hard to figure out how much detail to share with kids when you want to answer a question honestly, but gently) but luckily, it turned into a teaching moment instead and everyone is ok now, and hopefully, my boys learned something about faith.

faith

Last weekend, my son again was faced with something that frightened him: riding a two wheeler bike, no training wheels. He got the bike for his birthday over a year ago when he turned 6, but after trying it out a few times, he had decided that he wasn’t ready and it sat unused in our garage until this summer. A couple months ago, my son was feeling bad because his younger brother started riding a two wheeler with little difficulty and he was feeling left out. My husband took the pedals off his bike and encouraged my son to use it to just balance and cruise around. My son tried it, and made a little progress, but still maintained that he was too afraid and that he would try again next summer. We were all frustrated. We let it go for a while. This past Saturday, I got a wild hair and told my son simply that I wanted to see him balance on his bike again and that we were going to practice coasting for 20 minutes. He very reluctantly agreed, and I could see that he was doing much better than I had expected. I went with my gut and very excitedly proclaimed that he was balancing amazingly and that I felt that he was ready for his pedals to be put back on. At this point, he joined me in my excitement, feeling ready to start riding, and it was like a weight was lifted from his little shoulders. He continued practicing until his dad got home, and put the pedals back on. As soon as the pedals were on, I saw a shift in my son. The fear was back. My heart dropped at the thought that this wonderful experience we were having might end in frustration like all the other bike riding attempts for him. I desperately wanted him to feel the thrill of success after working so hard and practicing so long. My husband and I stopped him, and looked him in the eye, and said,

“Son, nothing has really changed now that the pedals are back on. You are still ready for this. You need to decide that you are not going to let the fear hold you back. I know you can do this.”

And you know what? He took about 25 deep breaths, and then he did it. He rode his bike. I ran along side of him, encouraging him, cheering him on and reminding him that the faster he rode, the less he would wobble. I wanted to cry tears of relief and happiness for him. I loved the look of hard-won triumph on his face, and I will always remember that look.

Just like riding a bike

I am so proud of him each and every time he decides that he is going to try something that is good for him, even if it is terrifying at first. I have a feeling it is the same for us. Don’t we all have to choose faith instead of fear each time we are in a new situation- especially when we are doing something we don’t necessarily want to do, but feel led in that direction? I wonder if God says the same thing to us, if we could only hear it- ” My son,” or “My daughter, nothing has really changed now that you are in this new situation. You are ready for this. You need to decide that you are not going to let the fear hold you back. I know you can do this.” And then when we choose to be courageous, he is running right there beside us, ready to catch us should we fall, and cheering us on the whole way. Maybe he feels just as proud of us as I was of my son that day- or more so.

I guess I am saying that being a “responsible adult” isn’t all that different sometimes from being a 7 year old trying to overcome the fear of riding a bicycle. Sometimes it feels like we have to do lots of hard and scary things, but the more we choose faith instead of fear, the easier it becomes to rely on God to keep us upright. Its… just like riding a bike.

 

Rochelle signature

Baby TOMS Shoes Tutorial

One of my favorite things about being a mom is dressing my baby boy up in beyond adorable clothes. Lately I’ve been itching to get him some stylin’ shoes. I mean, what’s more fun than tiny baby shoes… correction–tiny baby TOMS!?! Yes, you read that right, baby TOMS. I saw them on Pinterest and about died from the overload of cuteness. I absolutely had to make them right away!

I found the original pattern and tutorial from Homemade Toast. She has got some amazing sewing talent!

1. Cut out the pattern

You can find it on the link above at Homemade Toast.

2. Cut out your fabric

I used minky fabric for my inner lining for extra comfort.

3. Sew the back part

With right sides together, sew 1/4″ seam allowance in a straight line.

4. Sew elastic in back part

Fold in half and press. Sew a little more than 1/4″ seam allowance in a straight line along the top. I used 1/4″ elastic to pull through. Be sure to leave a little extra elastic sticking out of the ends when you are done.

toms4

Pull elastic from one side to tighten fabric to your desired stretchiness. Stitch in place to hold. I did a zigzag stitch along the side to make sure the elastic didn’t go anywhere.

toms5

5. Sew the center part

Cut and fold the triangle shapes as shown by the pattern. Press folds well.

toms3

Place right sides together and line triangle shapes up. Sew along the top with 1/4″ seam allowance.

toms7

Turn it right side out and press.

Sew elastic by inserting along top of center strap and stitching with 1/4″ and 1/2″ seam allowances (the “V” shape design).

toms8

Place center strap over toe piece. This part may get kind of confusing, but meet the bottom of the center strap with the middle fold of the toe piece. Stitch with 1/8″ seam allowance.

toms9

 

toms10

6. Baste the toe piece

This part is tricky, but just follow the pattern as close as you can. Fold along the dotted lines to create a nice smooth curve around the toe. Pin and sew 1/4″ seam allowance. Don’t fret if you can’t get the pleats perfect. Personally, I don’t think it needs to be perfect.

toms11

7. Sew front to the back

Sewing along the same two lines on the center strap, attach the front to the back.

toms6

8. Attach the sole

toms13

Before you start pinning, make sure the entire shoe is inside-out. Now pin the sole to the top and back. Pin like crazy. You can never have too many pins, in my opinion. The more you have the easier it will be to keep all the pleats and seams in place, especially since it is such a tiny shoe.

toms16

Sew with 1/4″-1/2″ seam allowance.

toms15

Now turn it right side out and admire your awesome work!!! The best part is putting them on your little baby’s feet! Enjoy the cuteness. :)

toms14

Heather signature

Mandala Meditation for Anxiety

I love mandalas. I remember learning about them in Humanities in college. Basically, “mandala” is a sanskrit word that means “circle”. They are beautiful geometrical designs, often brightly colored, and usually in a circular shape, but more than their physical beauty, they represent a deep meditative and spiritual journey, with divinity being near the center of the design. Mandala derived designs are used in forms of worship in Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity.

Certain forms of meditation include studying a mandala, and letting it take you on an internal spiritual journey. Other forms include drawing or coloring a mandala.  Interestingly, this has been researched and results have been published in the Art Therapy Journal of the American Art Therapy Association (click the link to see a summary of the study results).  In a nutshell, the study found that “structured coloring of a reasonably complex geometric pattern may induce a meditative state that benefits individuals suffering from anxiety.” Basically, color a mandala when you are feeling stressed or anxious, and it might help you feel more calm and collected.

A few weeks ago, I printed off several coloring sheets (just google “free mandala coloring pages” for tons of options you can print at home). Last week, I pulled out my kids’ colored pencils, sharpened them up, and spent a few minutes each day working on the mandala pictured at the top of this post. I did feel a reduction in my stress after coloring for 10 minutes or so. (Although, I should note, it can be kind of addicting because it is fun, and they are really beautiful. So, some days I probably spent much longer than 10 minutes.) The mandala I colored above can be found here on Color Pages for Mom.

Hope you have fun coloring! If you have kids, now you have something you can be excited about coloring with them! :)

DIY Lego Birthday Party

Both of my sons have been very enthusiastic about Legos this year, so I wasn’t surprised when my oldest decided on a Lego theme for his birthday party.  And, being the crazy summer that it is, I gave myself only 6 days to plan and prepare everything from start to finish. I  wondered how it would all turn out, but everything was, in fact, awesome. Cue music….

It turns out that there are tons of free printable resources online that made my job pretty easy! We used a free, customizable Lego movie invitation, these minifig straw decorations that we used as cupcake toppers, a minifig coloring page, and free printable Lego cupcake wrappers.

The Prep

I tried to involve my son as much as possible in the party prep, and it was a fun bonding experience, plus he was actually pretty helpful.  We handed out invitations that we printed 4-on-a-page and mounted on bright cardstock paper that we already had.

Hale Grafx free printable

We printed the minifig coloring pages, and also the straw toppers and cupcake wrappers, and cut those out. The boys used double stick tape to attach the straw toppers to craft sticks for the cupcake toppers.

I collected and separated Lego pieces into individual bags for our Lego car- building activity (check garage sales and local classified ads, or use your own stash and don’t send them home as favors).

I did purchase a few things for the party. I bought these Lego favor bags pictured below, some lego brick candies which I added to the favor bags and also decorated the cupcakes with (see below), a silicone Lego candy mold (we made chocolates, but you could do ice cubes, other candies, crayons, etc.), and minifig crayon sets which we could have made on our own if we’d had time.

 

 

I had some Wilton Candy Melts on hand that I used to make the Lego candies by melting the chips in the microwave, pouring in the molds, and refrigerating for a few minutes. They set up pretty fast, allowing me to use just one mold to make many candies very quickly. I packaged them up in small bags that I also had on hand already that I had found at the grocery store.

I also bought a long green plastic table cloth, red square plates, yellow cups and silverware, and blue napkins from the dollar store ($5 total).  I drew the minifig faces on the cups with a permanent marker.  I didn’t want to worry about feeding the kids lunch, but I got a veggie tray and a fruit tray, and that went over pretty well with the kids.

The  Party

We invited 10 7- year- olds, and I was a little worried about chaos, so I planned enough activities to keep them busy for 2 hours and made an itinerary.  My sister Cara was gracious enough to come help the activities move along and stay organized. Here is what my itinerary looked like:

10am  Gathering activity- Minifig coloring/decorating (10 min)

10:10  Lego relay race (10 min)
10:20  Lego straw game (5 min)
10:25  Snacks (veggie and fruit trays) (10 min)
10:35  Build and race cars (25 min)
11:00  Lego bracelets (25 min)
11:25  Presents (15 min)
11:40  Cake (20 min)

 

We did the coloring as a gathering activity while we were waiting for all the kids to arrive, and in addition to crayons, I provided googly eyes, pom-poms, glue, etc. to decorate them with.

Next we did a relay race, Egg-on-a-spoon style, with a tub of legos, a spoon for each team, and a bucket for them to dump their Legos into. I set a timer for 4 minutes (you could adjust according to the age of the kids playing) and they got as many Legos as they could without dropping them.

After the timer went off, I had the kids count how many Legos were in the buckets, and the winners got a prize (I reassured the kids that every kid would get to win a prize by the end of the party).

We also played the M&M game with straws and Lego pieces instead of M&Ms. (The idea is to use the straw to create suction and pick up Lego bricks for a minute or two. The winner is the one with the most pieces when the timer goes off. Make sure the pieces are large enough to be picked up this way and won’t be a choking hazard!)

I combined the snack time with the Lego car activity. The kids spent more time doing these things than I expected, and really seemed to enjoy building their cars.  They all got relatively similar pieces, but the cars were very distinct and unique from each other.  I loved watching their creativity.  After they finished building, we went outside to the ramp my husband put together with some wood and sheets of plastic propped up on a sawhorse. Each child raced their car against another, and everyone got prizes.

I thought Lego friendship bracelets would be a fun craft that boys and girls would each enjoy, and although the kids needed a lot of help, they all seemed to think it was a pretty cool activity.  They even realized they could carry around their Lego cars stuck to the bracelets. :)  We followed this tutorial from The Centsible Life for Lego friendship bracelets. My husband went through our Lego stash and pulled a few pieces out, and drilled the holes pretty quickly.

I like to do cake and ice cream as the very last thing at birthday parties, so we sang “Happy Birthday and passed out the cupcakes after the presents were open. (I will share the delicious dairy- free recipes I used in a later post!)

My son was thrilled with how his party turned out, and all the kids stayed busy enough that there were no squabbles, and no chaos, so I was happy too!

DIY Can Stilts

Warm, sunny days are becoming limited around here, so we decided to make the most of the good weather and make these stilts. This is a fun activity that I remember doing as a child, and my kids didn’t really even know what stilts were, so I though this would be fun to do with them.

I used #10 food storage cans that were going to be recycled anyway, but you could use any sturdy metal can (like a large soup can).  Just use your judgement on if it is strong enough/ big enough for your child.

My 4 year old loved being my helper and the look on his face when he tried the stilts for the first time was priceless.

Here’s how to make your own tin can stilts:

1. Gather your materials. You’ll need two metal cans that are the same size, some twine or strong cord, scissors to cut the cord, a thicker- sized nail, and a hammer.

2. Using the nail and hammer, make two holes- one each on opposite sides of the can, just under the rim of the sealed end of the can.

3. Cut a length of cord or twine and poke each of the ends through the holes you just made.  The length you should cut the twine depends on the height of your child.  When they are standing on the stilts, the twine should come high enough that they can grip it easily but have no slack in the string (slack makes it easier to fall off or trip).

4. Tie the ends of the twine together inside the can for a hidden knot- or, if you want easier adjusting, string it though the opposite way, with the knot at the top where the handhold is.

5. Repeat steps for the other can.

Photo credit goes to my 4 year old!

Test it- you know, quality control!  Remember that the strings need to be pulled very tight as you walk in order to keep the cans next to your feet to avoid tripping or falling. It may take a little practice!

My first grader wanted to get in on the fun when he got home from school and both boys spent about an hour tromping in and out of the garage and down the sidewalk.

Yay for homemade (recycled) toys!  Do you remember making stilts like this as you were growing up?

Travelling With Kids (And Saving Your Sanity)

By my calculations, this year we have logged more than 80 hours of extended travel with our kids (some of it was just me and the kids) by plane and car.  And we’re looking at probably 50 more before the year is finished (starting next week!).  So I’m starting to feel like I’ve got this down, more or less.

My kids are in the 2-5 range, so I’m sure it would be a different story and a different game plan with a baby or with older kids, but here are some things that have worked for us! UPDATE 7/6/15 My older kids are now in the 5-7 range and most of these activities are still very entertaining for them. I’ll add a few more things we have included to our travel preparations, as we still do a fair amount of traveling with kids each year. Look for the updates throughout the post. (Post contains affiliate links, which help support this blog- thank you!)

The Basics:
We start out with a few foundation items: a cooler with plenty of healthy snacks, a few not- so healthy ones, and drinks.  Books, pillow/ blanky, and one or two beloved toys.  Technology- some new tunes on an mp3 player- both kid songs and grown up music, a portable DVD player for the car, our favorite kid shows, Leap Pads, earphone splitter, and headphones.

We are usually in the car for 13-14 hours one way, so we need a LOT to keep our kids entertained and happy.  I don’t want them watching movies the whole time, and they aren’t really into that either- usually 1-2 movies only for a trip that length. I do encourage them to nap, and sometimes they will for a short time, but the majority of the time they are kept happiest when they have a variety of activities to choose from.  We alternate the basics above with activities from the bag of tricks below.

The Activity Rotation
We rotate through our bag of tricks, each activity lasting on average from 15-30 minutes, repeating our favorites multiple times. (Your kids might have longer attention spans, depending on their personalities and ages, the times I list below are just to give a general idea)  Here are some of our favorites:

Good old pencil and paper for drawing, name writing, and letter/ number/ shape practice.  This one probably only lasts 10-15 minutes at a time.

Magnadoodles.  We would do this activity maybe after a movie, not drawing in notebooks.  Probably another 10-15 minute activity for my boys.

Silly putty is a great fine motor activity and there are sooo many variations on this activity.  Sculpting, twisting, stretching, ink printing, stamping, impression making, bubble blowing etc.  We are happy with this activity for at least 30 minutes.

A memory game of some type is good (Here is the one we have); there are also tons of free printables you can find on Pinterest that are travel memory games or scavenger hunts. This is a 10-15 minute activity for us, but I think as they get older, and if I had more variations of it, they would play longer.

Scratch art.  This is a fun activity for older kids and maybe grown ups too!  You use the wooden stylus to scratch off the black coating and underneath is brightly colored plastic when you hold it up to the light.  This is a 25-30 minute activity for my kids, but they need a little encouragement.

Dry erase activities (like this).  We pack a couple different colors of dry erase pens, and just use tissue to erase.  For whatever reason, my boys both love using dry erase markers over any other type of writing implement.  My only warning is that dry erase pen is VERY hard to get out of clothing…  My kids will play with this activity for about 25 minutes.

Magnatab.  This is somewhat similar to the magnadoodle in that you use a magnetic stylus, but it works by pulling up a little metal ball that lodges in a groove near the top of the surface.  You can’t draw anything very detailed, but it makes a satisfying sound and it is somewhat of a novelty.  My kids will probably spend about 20 minutes on this.

Stringing beads and shapes. This is actually an activity that I inherited from my mom, and it is kind of nostalgic because Marissa and I played with this in the car 20+ years ago!  My mom actually had us help her make salt dough shapes, which we let dry and then painted together.  My mom cut out a bunch of felt shapes and punched holes in them, and everything got strung on shoelaces.  We used to have all kinds of neon colored laces; this is what is left two decades later! Haha.  We add random empty spools, beads, etc. for stringing.  My kids will play with this for 20 minutes usually.

Felt board with story puppets and shapes.  Here’s another one I played with as a child, which my mom gave back to me.  (My mom is super creative, as you may be able to tell.  She made all of the puppets herself.)  The kids play with this usually about 15 minutes, then throw the shapes all around the car for another 10. I guess we take what we can get. Haha.

Eye Spy Books. We have a couple of these books along with some magnifying glasses.  That combo seems to last us about 30 minutes if we have enough books to search through.

Dollar Store games.  We have a few little things like this that we have found at the dollar store or saved from kid’s meals which will entertain the kids for 5-10 minutes on average.  Not very long, but it does the trick to distract them sometimes when they are starting to get whiny or have a meltdown.

WikkiStix.  This is another activity that is fun for kids and adults alike.  These “sticks” are actually pieces of yarn coated in some kind of wax that sticks to itself and other nonporous surfaces, but leaves your hands mess- free… win!  This awesome fine motor activity lasts us a good 30 minutes.

Here’s another blast from my past!  As you can tell, these also belonged to Marissa and I as kids.  Now my kids love coloring on the chalkboards.  I will probably have to give Marissa hers soon as her daughter gets old enough to use it.  :)  We just use colored chalk and tissue for erasers.  These have also stood the test of time for 20+ years!  This is a 20 minute activity.

Every once in a while, we get a really good kids meal toy.  We got several sets of these connector things from Wendy’s a few months ago, and I save two sets for our next car trip.  My kids will play with these for 30 minutes.

Magnet story board.  This is a new toy that I haven’t showed my kids yet. It is a metal box with three sheets of punch-out magnet animals that you can mix and match to make silly looking animals.  I’m hoping this one will give us at least 30 minutes of creativity. UPDATE 7/6/15 My kids have loved this activity and they sometimes request it even when they’re not traveling.

Sculpting play foam.  We love this stuff!  As long as your kids are old enough to not throw it around, it is super easy to clean up, and it sticks to itself only- not your hands, so totally mess- free!  Woohoo!  This is a 20+ minute activity.

Window Crayons and mirrors.  Ok, I’m going to warn you- this can get messy, so skip it if your kids will draw on seats, themselves, etc.  The crayons are almost a dry lipstick consistency, but it does wipe off very easily with wet wipes.  We do this activity for 15 minutes- any longer, and my kids will start drawing a mural on their carseats.

Mess- free markers.  If the previous activity made you shudder, then maybe this one will float your boat. These markers don’t actually use ink; they only work on specially treated paper.  So it is impossible to make a mess with these. My kids are interested in this for about 15 minutes.

Various car doo-dads.  Dancing giraffes, bendy blocks (made that name up), kaleidoscopes (we have these), and marble mazes that I sewed based on tutorials around the web.  Each of these activities is good for 5 minutes, give or take.

Creative commons photo credit

Triangular crayons or colored pencils for road trips are brilliant- they don’t roll. I think a few companies make them now; ours are Melissa and Doug.  We also have some clipboards that help a lot with coloring and many of the above activities just to provide a hard surface to work on.

UPDATE 7/6/15 Here are a few more items we have added:

Our most recent addition is this Boogie board. We haven’t used it on a trip yet, so I don’t have my own picture, but it is a fun LCD writing tablet that is fun for doodling on.

My boys love doing these types of mini Lego kits. They aren’t too expensive (usually around $5) and they can do them over and over. Cut out the picture on the front of the package, and keep the instructions if your kids are into that, and keep it all together with the Lego pieces in a ziplock bag.

For the grownups: For car trips, we bring our favorite healthy snacks, a couple treats, protein bars or drinks, our caffeine of choice (almost always Dr. Pepper), a book to read from, and an audiobook that is as exciting as possible.  One of our last trips we listened to Ender’s Game and it kept all the drowsiness away for both of us, which is super important if you drive at all during the night.

Between all the different activities, eating, potty breaks, movies, naps, and the mandatory looking out the window minutes between activities, that pretty much takes up our whole trip.  We have modified this to work on airplanes too.  It’s always a good idea to have at least a couple new things that your kids haven’t seen before.  On one trip, we wrapped everything in wrapping paper, and it was really fun for the kids to open their “presents”.  We never get these toys and activities out at any other time than travelling, so they are extremely desirable and the kids are excited to play with them.

Oh- before I forget- I got these toys from a variety of sources. Amazon, ToysRUs, some were gifts or we made them, Walmart, and a whimsy, magical toy store in the southwest Portland metro-ish area of Oregon called Mudpuddles. Favorite toystore ever! (I would link to them, but they don’t appear to have a working website. Dang. We are going to visit soon and do some Christmas shopping!)

Hopefully there were some good ideas for you.  Happy travels!

Rock art gift

I was looking through pictures from last summer and came across pictures of a special gift from my son’s fourth birthday party.  I am excited to share this creative gift/activity idea with you!  My parents and some of my younger siblings had been at the beach earlier in the summer and my dad had the idea of collecting the smooth, differently colored rocks from the sand and starting a collection for my son.  Some rocks were big, black, smooth and flat, and others were funny shapes, bright colors, and small.

My dad packaged the rocks up in a cool box and you can see from my son’s face that he thinks this gift is awesome.  “What?  You’re giving me rocks?”

This was a delightful tactile experience for both my boys- the youngest was two at the time so we had to watch him carefully so he wouldn’t put the rocks in his mouth.

“I can make a sandwich!”

“Look at this smiley face!”

In fact, it was so delightful, that pretty soon we had this going on:

Ok, so maybe we’re easily entertained (nothing wrong with that!) but something about this hands-on experience really brought out our creativity.

 

 

Honestly, the adults probably had as much fun as my son did making rock creations, and it was a great memory to make together.  I loved that it was spatially interesting and mentally stimulating (kind of like putting together a puzzle).  Mostly, I loved that my family thought about my son while they were away, and spent a lot of time picking up these rocks that they knew he would love.