504 Main by Holly Lefevre: family
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts


Having Fun with A Coconut

Does it seem weird to you that we decided to spend an afternoon with a coconut?
I kind of thought so too (we have done weirder),
but I love introducing my kids to new foods, foods in their natural forms,
and we love to experiment...so this was perfect fun.

Have Fun with a Coconut 504 Main

A few months ago we were having a bonfire at the beach.
The kids were out exploring the shores and came back with a coconut
and some yams (don't ask - we do not understand how that happened).
This group of kids, ranging in age from 5 to 12 were intrigued...
almost obsessed with this coconut.
We cracked it open and toasted some of it (but did not eat it).

Have Fun with a Coconut 504 Main

The next day my kids were still talking about a coconut....
so, I headed to the store to grab a coconut.
I figured it was a cheap activity ($2.00 for the coconut) and
would introduce the kids to the wonders of the coconut.

Have Fun with a Coconut 504 Main

I decided I was going to tackle cracking this coconut with just myself and the kids...
but I did cal in my hubby to help us.
He claimed to have experience cracking coconuts
(in his earlier Survivor days, perhaps?).
Anyway...this is what we did.

First I had the kids shake the coconut.
Next it was time to drain the coconut water out.
  • I used a corkscrew and "drilled" holes into the eyes of the coconut. You can also hammer a long nail into the eyes or use a drill. I made holes in all three "eyes," and drained the water into a bowl (to use later for smoothies, etc.) 
  • We had to "carve" out a bit more room in our holes to get the water to come out quicker.
  • I had them taste the coconut water...they were not impressed. (I agree)
Have Fun with a Coconut 504 Main

Have Fun with a Coconut 504 Main

Drain the water.

Have Fun with a Coconut 504 Main

Have Fun with a Coconut 504 Main

Then it was time to crack this coconut open - A job for adults!
  • I called hubby in for this...due to his experience (or so he says).
  • We used the non-cutting side of a knife and while I would like to say tapped around the center to crack it..it really took a few whacks.
  • You can also wrap the coconut in a towel and smack it with a hammer.
Have Fun with a Coconut 504 Main


Have Fun with a Coconut 504 Main

Once the coconut was opened, I had the kids examine it, and taste just a teeny bit. 

They goofed around a bit...it looked just like a crazy head with a big mouth.

Have Fun with a Coconut 504 Main

We took the coconut inside and baked it to remove the meat from the shell.
  • Preheat oven to 325F.
  • Place the cracked coconut in an oven safe dish and bake for 20-30 minutes.
  • I could see the meat start to separate from the shell...so just watch it!
  • Remove from the oven, let cool.
  • Once cool it is super easy to scoop the meat out of the shell after this.

Once you have the meat ready, you can grate it and toast it and enjoy the delicious coconut.
Have Fun with a Coconut 504 Main

What crazy things do you do to entertain your kids?
This post is written and created at 504 Main by Holly Lefevre


EASY Summer Fun: How to Build A Cardboard Bridge

I am exhausted and taking care of some personal business...
and trying to help out with end of the school year activities for my kids.
My kids only have 6 days of school left so I am REALLY thinking about SUMMER!
(I need to get on it. A.S.A.P.!)
Here is one of the activities we did last year
and it has continued to be a popular choice for my kids year round.
(This is a repost)
Image credit: bortn66 / 123RF Stock Photo 

Eight years ago today we moved into this house.
My son and I knew no one and were bored...very bored.
I used our moving boxes to make houses, dump trucks, and rocket ships.
The rocket ship actually survived for 3 years!

I had forgotten all about this...
Until my memory was jogged when I was at the Maker Faire with Delta Faucet. We came across the Berkeley Institute of Design's Crowd-Powered Bridge Design and Research Project. I was reminded of the rockets ship and thought this would make a fun summer activity for my kids and their friends.

The exhibit at the Maker Faire

Fast forward to today...we had some friends over to celebrate my son's birthday
and I had tons of cardboard...
and thought, let's give this a shot!

We had 2 groups of kids:
older kids ranging from 9-11 years old and
younger kids ranging from 5 to 8 year old.

At first they seemed hesitant, but ready to give it a go.
I showed them the photo I took at the Maker Faire
and the older kids went with it-
taping, ripping, and building with cardboard for a couple of hours.

The younger kids needed a bit of help, but also got in on the action...
first they drew some picture to decorate it -
that was more important to the little ones.

Here is how to do it and what you need
to make your own bridge/ramp/contraption!

Cardboard: boxes, shoe boxes, poster board, craft paper - whatever you have around! I picked up a few rolls of kraft/shipping paper at the dollar store just in case.

Tape: No need to get high quality tape...I bought the $1 tape and clear packing tape from the dollar store too. I figured the cheaper tape was fine, since I do not plan on keeping these forever. (just FYI - it has a strong scent so use in a ventilated area)

Scissors (optional)


  1. Gather the kids.
  2. Suggested they collaborate first and draw a picture so each kid could visualize the end goal. I think this helps the kids combine forces more easily.
  3. Explain to them they are to work together to create a bridge or tower or whatever you want using only the cardboard and tape. At the Maker Faire the goal was to get a small toy car to roll over the bridge and for it to be high enough for a toy cardboard boat to go under the bridge. Our goal was that Jules could ride her trike under it.
  4. Give them each a roll of tape.
  5. Then turn them loose....it took a bit for them to start clicking...but then they did and worked together to build this bridge (or ramp).

Well, my visions of a grand bridge did not quite materialize.
The kids bridge looked like a ramp.

 They proceeded to launch the empty rolls of tape and Hot Wheels cars and Zoobles off of it. The Trike did fit under it...but most importantly, they had fun in the sun for hours and worked together to get a finished project.

The little kids also created a smaller version of a "bridge"
(or something!) and enjoyed it too.

Moral of the story...
everyday recyclables and things laying around the house and provide hours of fun and teach the kiddos a little something this summer!

The kids actually asked when they can do this again...
now, that is a winner idea in my book!

Do you have any simple, cheap, and easy idea for summer?


This post is written and created at 504 Main by Holly Lefevre


Mothers Day Corsage with Photo Center (tutorial)

Mothers Day is a simple day for my family.
Rather than racing off for a day at the spa to "escape" them,
this is a day I choose to embrace them...
after all that is what made me a mother.
We celebrate together, enjoy each others company, go strawberry picking,
 and maybe best of all...
I do get to sleep in while the family prepares a special breakfast!
I don't even ask for a gift...sleeping in is a gift in itself.


StrongMoms Empower: A Tale About Breastfeeding and Judgement

When I had my first child, I had grand plans
and many ideas about what motherhood would be like.
After giving birth to my first child, the days wore on and on,
and I all too quickly discovered that my vision of motherhood was about 95% wrong. Motherhood is the most amazing experience in this world  - period!
But motherhood is a daily challenge,
a daily exercise in patience and understanding,
and a lifelong commitment to creating responsible, caring individuals.
StrongMoms Empower

Since becoming a mother, my days have been filled, as I am sure every mothers have, with life changing experiences. We say things, do things, and experience things we never imagined. Being a mother is powerful, but as we travel this path, it cannot be denied that motherhood comes with judgement - from family members...from friends...from strangers. This story is about one of my biggest challenges, disappointments, and the judgement I faced as a new mother (both times). 

I had a hard time after the birth of my son. A slight case of postpartum depression was my co-parent and I did not even see it at the time (and neither did my husband). To top it off nothing - not one thing about parenting came close to what I planned or dreamt about, other than the love I felt for this baby - that is the one thing that did exceed my expectations. I daydreamed that once I brought this heavenly bundle of joy home, we would spend our days at the park, reading, napping, and we would bond and everything would be beyond perfect.

I have never been more wrong.

I had put so much pressure on myself to be this perfect mother that I barely remember anything good that happened. The biggest disappointment accompanied breastfeeding. I had so desperately wanted to nurse this sweet baby and it was not working...I was not making milk, not enough anyway...and there were other problems as well. Days and days of a screaming hungry baby...days and weeks of lactation consultants, pediatricians, and trip after trip to the health store to buy vitamins and supplements that were supposed to make the milk come in. You name it...no one could help the issues we had. I had assumed that nursing would be a piece of cake, no issue at all...but it was not. They tell you it might be difficult, but they never really say how difficult. 

Infections and engorgement and a multitude of other not so pleasant experiences led to days spent frustrated and crying - me and the baby! I made the decision to pump...and was absolutely scrutinized by many of the mothers in the baby groups I joined.
"Why wouldn't everyone breastfeed? It is so easy. "
"Mothers who do not breastfeed are selfish."
"I cannot believe she isn't nursing that baby."
I could hear them. I hated listening to them. It hurt. It hurt bad.

Of course they had no idea that the milk in those bottle was breast milk - precious breast milk that had to be coaxed and cajoled to come out of my body. They had no idea that I slept about 3 hours a night because the process of pumping, cleaning, and then feeding a newborn the baby and starting all over again was laborious, tedious, and took a lot of time.  The peaceful image of a mother nursing her newborn in bliss did not exist in my house. But I did it because I believed in breast milk and breastfeeding and wanted to do everything I could for my baby. (For the record...I did eventually have to supplement with formula. As my son grew I could not keep up with his needs. I pumped for about one year.)

StrongMoms Empower

Fast forward 6 years...and a new baby girl entered our lives. I was much more prepared for the fact that things may not go as planned this time, but it did not make it any easier. There was still disappointment and frustration as I encountered the same problems with nursing. I refused to bring this baby home and live in a fog of screaming and pumping and utter devastation and disappointment in myself. I also had another child to care for and could not lose myself in the despair that followed my son's birth. 

At the hospital, I made the decision..I was going to ask for the "F-Word" - Formula - to supplement the breast milk. In the area I live in, formula truly is the F-word and I was scared to ask...the nurses encouraged me to keep trying and tried to avoid my requests (in a pleasant and encouraging way). Finally I worked up the nerve to ask our wonderful pediatrician. She understood, and it took her to finally get me what I needed...what my baby needed.

I wanted to enjoy this time. I regret the moments I missed with my son, and I did not want to relive the experience - the angst and the crying and the beating myself up. I did still want to breastfeed. Again I visited pediatricians lactation consultants and read everything I could...and again, ultimately I found myself "tied" to the pump. I had come to terms with what I was and was not capable of...but I again was devastated by the lack of decency and understanding of other mothers.

Snide comments, whispers, not-so-quiet discussions were all too common at Mommy and Me. No one would sit by me, no one would talk to me because I was not able to whip out a boob and feed during circle time. And again, they had no idea that I had slept only a few hours each night so that I could pump maybe one beautiful, precious bottle of breast milk to feed my baby. They assumed. They judged. And it still hurt.

Being a mother is no easy task and there are so many ways to be a good mother. What leads us to criticize other mothers, other women for the decisions they make. 

I have many, many (many) opinions about what I will allow or not allow my children to do/see/watch/participate in/behave. As a mother that is my job to determine what I feel is appropriate and right for my children and my family. If another family chooses otherwise...fine, but I will chose to not let my children participate. I am not judging that family but I am making the best decision I know for my own kids...that is my job.

And...surprise, surprise I do not agree with everyone I know about how or what they chose to let their children do...BUT that is their choice, and as long as their children are not in danger and they are being cared for that is their prerogative...EVERY FAMILY, EVERY MOTHER has the right to make the best decisions for her family
StrongMoms Empower

I am not a perfect mother - far, far from it. So, in the interest of full disclosure...I will admit the following...(I am sure there is much more I can admit to...but for now this is it)

  • I have been that mom at the park on the phone.
  • I have been that mom with the screaming child at the grocery store.
  • I have (I am) that mom who lets her little girl wear sundresses to school even when it is cold outside (with a jacket in tow as well).
  • I have handed my toddler a frozen pancake while in line at the grocery store as everyone looks at me in horror. 
  • My kids are all too familiar with the phrase, "Just a minute."
  • I believe in the 5 second rule. 
  • I have let my kids drink soda and processed foods.
  • I chose to go back to work.
  • I chose to not work.
  • I chose to breast feed.
  • I chose to not breast feed.
  • I yell.
  • I am honest.
  • I tell white lies (but for the good of the family!)
  • I make mistakes.
  • I give myself time outs.
  • I apologize.
  • I admit...I have judged other mothers...
...but I have also learned, and come to understand that we all have our own way, and we are doing the best we can for our own situation. It is not for us to judge what another family needs or chooses to do...and now when I find my mind heading down that path, I try to catch these thoughts - to remember that I have no idea what is going on with that family, what their situation is, what has happened earlier in the day, what phone call they just received, what their life is like. All I can do is be the best mother for my own kids, and be there to support and encourage other mothers if they should need and ask for it.

How about joining the movement of encouragement and help us moms unite by taking the Strong Moms Empower pledge

Take the StrongMoms Empowerment Pledge
This post is written and created at 504 Main by Holly Lefevre
I am participating in a blog campaign with One2One Network. I have not received any payment.
All opinions are my own.