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I am a home schooling mom to three amazing kiddos.  We primarily use the Montessori pedagogy to guide our journey.  We also enjoy aspects of classical education and are part of Classical Conversations community. 

I write a Montessori column for Practical Homeschooling Magazine.

I am still a geek at heart and at times miss my former career as an Information Architect/SharePoint Specialist.  I don't have much free time but if I do, it is spent on comic books and video games.
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Our Mother's Day Project

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I know, I know... Mother's Day has come and gone.  Fortunately, we managed to sneak in a little project as gifts to grandmothers and great grandmothers.

I have had stepping stones on our list of projects for a very long time.  A few weeks before Mother's Day, Elora and I stopped by Home Depot and chose a bag of cement.  I picked one that had a faster drying time.  However, I read enough tips on the Internet ahead of time to know that the fastest drying ones generally dry too fast for the kids to work with it.  The one I selected was right around $5.  Lifting an 80lb bag is harder than I thought it would be.

Next came the decorations...
I already had some lovely table scatter hearts from Target's dollar bin.  I also ordered some seashells from Amazon and found cheap glass beads at Wal-Mart.

I was thrilled when I found this post from Pink and Green Mama.  I had intended to purchase molds and honestly, they weren't that economical.  I never dreamed that cardboard boxes would be sufficient.  I was able to procure a number of smaller ones.

Mixing the concrete wasn't as bad as I imagined.  For those who are handy in the kitchen, it's similar to making frosting.  It seems like the liquid you add isn't doing much at first but keep mixing.  I eventually reached the desired consistency which was a bit wetter than cookie dough.  The entire 80lb bag filled 10 boxes.
Filling the boxes.
I only had to jiggle the boxes a little to get a smooth surface.


The kids went to town decorating the stones.  Elora does well sticking with projects but William occasionally loses focus.  This activity held his interest the entire time.  We also had a lively discussion about what concrete is and why it hardens.

William is decorating his set.

Both children are hard at work.

Elora was very meticulous about her decorating.

Each one was unique and beautiful.

As they finished each stone, I used the end of a metal shish-kebob stake to write on them.  I think it would have worked a bit better if I had waited until it had hardened a bit.  In fact, I fixed the writing on a number of them about an hour after they had been poured.

I added the name and year to each one.

They were fairly set the next day, although it is best to leave them in their boxes for a day or two.  Make sure you place them in an area where they will not be disturbed by little hands that are all too eager to visit their creations.

And of course, make sure you clean your supplies thoroughly afterwards.  Always put your mixing bin away, lest someone would trip on it and fall inside.

Lockelan took a slight tumble into the clean bin.  And don't worry, he wasn't hurt or I wouldn't have whipped out the camera.
I am amazed at how lovely they look.  We received rave reviews from the recipients.  I'm fairly certain we will attempt this project every year.  As the years pass, I think it will be interesting to see the designs get more complex.
I snagged these beauties for my garden which needs weeded.

And in case you're wondering what I recieved; well, here is the best Birthday, Mother's Day and Anniversary combo gift I ever received!

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