When your kids learn chess … and you can’t

When your kids learn chess ... and you can’t {Heather's Handmade Life}

When our six-year-old neighbour came over last week with a chessboard under his arm, I was gobsmacked.

“You … you know how to play chess?!” I asked, incredulously.

“Our kids know how to play checkers,” I thought. “He must be using the set to play checkers.”

“Yup,” he replied, quietly setting up the board on our kitchen table.

Our kids, five and seven, gathered around the board as he started explaining the rules. I watched, too, still in shock at this six-year-old chess champ.

“Kings can only move one space, any way,” he told them, seriously. “Queens can move any way, as much as you want.”

“Wait, they don’t just each move one square at a time?” I butted in. “Like in checkers?”

“No. Pawns move one, except on their first turn they can move two. But they only attack that way,” he continued, swiping his finger in a diagonal motion.

I was dumbfounded — with the emphasis on “dumb.” I’d known chess had cute little pieces in different shapes, unlike regular old checkers, but I hadn’t known they each had their own set of rules about moving around.

They played a practice game while he continued to explain the rules. He couldn’t remember the names of some of the pieces so they called the rooks “castles” and the knights “horses.” (I only figured out the proper names because I’m an adult with a phone and can Google like nobody’s business.) The fact that he was clearly a whiz at chess, but too young to remember the terminology, made the whole thing even cuter …

Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, The Mom Scene … 

Budget-friendly kids’ gallery wall

The thing about decorating kids’ rooms is a parent’s instinct is often to (a) add bright colours and (b) let the kids pick out things they like. Neither of those things are wrong, but they can both lead to decorating roadblocks.

I was recently called in to help tweak the decorating in Addy’s room. It was full of light and had excellent “bones” in the form of matching white Ikea furniture, but her mom didn’t feel the room looked “finished.”

Two things struck me immediately: (a) wow, that is a PINK accent wall, and (b) ugh, a Trolls poster is not an ideal focal point.

The pink wall wasn’t a problem. It was even a really nice pink — a preferred shade I have always called Barbie Pink. The trouble was that it was so bright and eye-catching, the only thing to look at was . . . that framed Trolls poster. (Yes, Trolls is a fun movie with excellent songs — I have the soundtrack on my iPhone — but I don’t enjoy characters in decorating or clothing, as a rule.)

I took a bunch of photos and measurements, and went home to start working on pieces for a fun, fresh gallery wall arrangement to replace Poppy and her friends.

I was going to use two large canvas prints that Addy already owned (both from Winners) along with a light-up unicorn, but I needed smaller elements to mix in. I also wanted to balance out all of the pink by adding lots of white and pops of aqua and yellow.

Here are seven different ways I created inexpensive new pieces for Addy’s gallery wall …

Budget-friendly kids’ gallery wall {Heather's Handmade Life}

1. Laser-cut wooden frames.

These basic wood frames (no glass or backing) are usually around $1 at the craft store and are easy to paint. I filled one with a picture of JoJo Siwa (cut from an old calendar page I found in Addy’s room), and the other holds a chihuahua birthday card from her friend, Kinley.

Continue reading in my weekly DIY column, My Handmade Home … 

Budget-friendly kids’ gallery wall {Heather's Handmade Life}

Budget-friendly kids’ gallery wall {Heather's Handmade Life}

Budget-friendly kids’ gallery wall {Heather's Handmade Life}
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Knock knock me over

I’m done with this week.

Or really, I should say “this week is done with me.” It won. It beat me. I give up.

Someone I love passed away, far too young, and we say good-bye to her on Tuesday. It was only the second funeral I’ve ever attended and holyshititwasgutting.

I didn’t know when exactly I expected to lose it during the service, but it wasn’t when I expected it to happen. It was during the hymn about loving all God’s creatures.

Suddenly I was sobbing “She hated spiders!” into my sister’s shoulder. She nodded through her tears. “No, she REALLY hated spiders!” I was borderline hysterical at this point. How had I forgotten, until that stupid hymn, how much she hated spiders? It shattered me.

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