Welp. It’s official. Another 100 Day Project is in the books. Out of all the different iterations of this project I’ve done, I’d say that this has been the most fun and most difficult. Fun, because I got to spend a whole lot of quality time with my daughter doing things we both loved doing. And difficult, because I am officially 2 weeks away from giving birth to my second child.
To be fair, I knew going into it that this would be a challenge for me because I was pregnant and would be wrapping up the project about a month before my due date. I knew that my energy and motivation would hit more peaks and valleys as a result. I was glad to be able to lean on my experience from previous years and used it as a guidepost for how much planning I would need to do to sustain us for the 100 days.
Another thing I did this time around was to give myself permission to pick up where I left off if we missed a day. Being pregnant and having a 5 year old for a partner in craft, I knew this was a distinct possibility. So I rolled with it. In the past, that would have derailed me and made me feel like quitting. This time, I just took it in stride and saw it as a necessary part of the project.
Finally, my main goal with this project was to make the most of my last summer alone with Anna. I didn’t want to look back on this summer with regret or a feeling like I should have made more of an effort. I knew there was a very distinct possibility that I would want to lay on the couch and do nothing all summer so used this project as motivation to stay active and engaged with my kiddo. For two people who love to cook and create and spend time together, this was our dream project.
To quote Anna, I am infinity plus 13 percent glad we took this on and know that our time together has been well spent.
What helped to make this project so successful:
I prepped like crazy. Before the project started, I scoured Pinterest for project ideas. I think I found like 90 or so that looked like fun and saved them to a board. I also set up this website as a place to store our experiences and keep track of the things that we wanted to do.
I sat down at the beginning of each week to map out our projects. I found out early on that I didn’t have everything on hand for the projects we wanted to do, nor did I have the time to run around town and grab supplies each day. I also didn’t want to spend a whole lot of money, so needed to research ingredients and supplies to find what was most time efficient and cost effective for us. So every Sunday, I sat down and looked at our calendar, the weather, and the kind of projects that sounded most appealing and made a list. I then looked at what supplies each required and took note of what we would need. It helped me stay on top of things and also to keep us motivated to stick with the project.
I got Anna on board and had her pick projects. When I told Anna that I wanted to do a project like this together, I made a point to get HER involved in the planning. I would read to her the list of ideas I found and show her pictures and/or videos of each project to give her a feel for what we each one was about. Getting her on board like that made her excited to craft together and also allowed her to have control. I found that to be helpful on the days she was tired or not super into it.
Other people’s enthusiasm for what we were doing. Having people to keep us inspired and even craft with us made for a much richer experience. My mom got in on the fun with 10 different projects. We had friends over for crafty play dates. And the comments we got from people online really helped to keep us on track.
I always had a back-up plan. Having a 5-year old as a partner in the process led to some unexpected days. Her interests changed often and things that she was initially into didn’t always land well the day of. So I always made sure to have another craft or recipe for us to try out just in case.
What we loved most:
While we had a blast over the duration of the project, there were a few things that we absolutely loved more than anything else. A lot were things we did in the very beginning and quite a few at the end, but perhaps those were just the ones that stuck in our brains.
- Crayon Lip Gloss. This was hands down our favorite craft we did. Of course, it was also the first thing we did. Anna loved choosing the colors and having her very own “lipstick” to wear. I loved how easy it was to make lighter or darker, depending on who we were making it for. I am confident this will be in our repertoire for years to come.
- Drawing together. This was a favorite of ours long before the project started, so it makes sense that this was a favorite as we dug deeper into the project. We made collages, created a blank template for making faces that was pretty cool, and even scanned our drawings to be colored on the computer (Anna’s absolute favorite).
- Bath bombs. These were so much fun to make that we ended up making (and using) two different batches. They were easy to do, fun to customize with color and scents, and were really fun to drop into the bath whenever the mood hit. Definitely saved us from bath time tantrums more than once.
- Milk Carton Bird Feeder. Anna absolutely loved this one. It was also one of the more time intensive projects, taking us most of an afternoon. She loved being able to paint it and gets to look at it out the window every day. Not sure too many birds have actually used it, but it’s fun to look at and pretend.
- Cooking together. We spent a lot of time in the kitchen together over the course of our 100 days, and I loved every minute of it. It was really cool to watch Anna get more confident in the kitchen and to watch her skills improve. She got really good at using a knife to cut things, measuring and pouring ingredients, and has really developed a love for cooking. Some of our favorite things we made: biscuits and bagels. Also some of the more delicious ones.
- Sharpie Tiles. We did this one with my mom and love love loved it. Anna loved being able to use the “special” markers and I loved watching our tiles go from weird spots of color to beautiful abstract designs in mere seconds. We will definitely be keeping these in our back pocket for house warming presents or holiday gifts.
- Chocolate lip balm. This made Anna’s top 5, not because it’s lip balm but because you got to eat the chocolate chips while making the lip balm. I will say that they have been a big hit with her friends because of the chocolate factor as well. The only disappointing thing about them? They don’t taste or smell like chocolate. Might need to try some cocoa butter next time to help out with that.
- Painting together. Another thing we loved doing pre-project that ended up being a favorite part during the project. I really loved experimenting with rubbing alcohol and thought those were super fun. Anna just loved painting and stealing all of my good brushes.
- Skirts! I was a little sad that sewing got relegated to the background of this project. I had high hopes of sewing a lot of things but found it to be demotivating to sew for myself while pregnant. And it was harder to get Anna in on the process than I had anticipated. She couldn’t do a lot of the cutting or actual sewing, so had to help with smaller pieces of the project. Her favorites were the t-shirt skirts we made (she got to choose the shirts), the circle skirt (it twirls!) and the maxi skirt I made at the end (she got to choose the fabric and help with the measurements).
- Tassel Keychains. This didn’t make Anna’s list since I did them by myself, but I absolutely LOVED making the tassel keychains. It was just the right amount of challenging while still being easy and the color choices are endlessly fun. Another great holiday present (stocking stuffer!) or back to school craft project since they make for great zipper pulls on backpacks as well as key chains.
Final thoughts on our 100 days:
We had fun, got our hands dirty, and made a whole lot of memories together. We have also grown together and learned more about each other in the process.
I will say that it wasn’t all rainbows, glitter, and unicorns. It took us a while to find our groove and there were a few days where Anna walked away because she wasn’t having fun. I noticed that I had a hard time giving up control and letting Anna take the lead, especially when we were both learning new skills, so really had to keep that in check. I also had a harder time when I was tired (which was often), but realized quickly that making mistakes is equally as (if not more) important to her learning than simply watching and trying to compare to an adult.
Once I was able to relax and settle in, I was impressed with what a quick learner Anna is and what she was able to accomplish. She grew leaps and bounds this summer and her confidence skyrocketed as a result.
When I asked Anna what she thought about the project as a whole, she said this:
Overall, I thought that it was amazing and I just loved it. You know what I loved the most about it was spending time with you. That was my most favorite thing about the 100 day project. I love when mommy and me are together because then we get to do fun things every day together. And I just love my mom so so much and she’s a very good artist.
And then my heart exploded into a millions pieces because honestly that’s all I wanted to get out of this project. To spend time together and do fun things.