Over the weekend, the kids and I plunged into our slow goals for November. I feel so inspired to be intentional with even the littlest opportunities to make memories with my boys! I want to make time to savor every season with them as it comes.
Often, we stick with our precious routines because they feel safe. But lately, I’ve felt deeply that our routines have become a rut, and we haven’t been making enough time for nature, or creativity, or just enjoying each other’s company because of it. Over the last few days, I’ve been very purposefully upsetting our routine for the sake of creating the kind of life I actually want to write about.
I told you I’d like to come up with a unique spin on this “thankful jar” idea, and that was the first project I tackled with the kids! We came up with these marbled gratitude stones together, and decided to make it a Thanksgiving season tradition from now on. Now let me share how we did it!
First of all, I have to give credit for the inspiration. The idea was contrived all because my four-year-old is obsessed with a YouTuber named Stephen Sharer. Stephen and his brother Carter are always coming up with fun and creative ideas that usually involve Nerf Guns, fidget spinners, and blowing things up. I resisted Hawk’s obsession with these kids at first, but now they’ve become like members of our family! And these guys love to “hydro-dip” paint all kinds of things: pumpkins, Legos shaped like fidget spinners, and even dirt bikes. So I knew Hawk would love the chance to “hydro-dip” stones with me, and I was right! Here’s what we used for this project:
- medium-sized glass bowl
- 8 smooth stones (we used egg rock like the kind you use for landscaping)
- 2-3 nail polishes in the color combo of your choice (I let Hawk choose ours!)
- nail polish remover
- cotton swabs
- paint pen in the color of your choice
- Krylon Matte Finish polyurethane spray sealant
I found instructions for this project on this site. Make sure to do this over a drop cloth, and outside if possible! Start by filling the glass bowl with water, and then layer the paint on top of the water one color at a time.
Next, drag a toothpick gently across the surface of the paint, creating a marbled effect. None of our paint pours looked as neat as the pictures on the source site, but we still had really good results! It’s fun to see how the colors look when they start to swirl together.
The kiddo and I tried a couple different methods of dipping the stones to see what worked best! First we dunked the stone straight into the water, letting it be completely submerged, and then carefully fished it back out. The paint wraps itself around the stone as it goes into the water, which looks really cool. It will be a little slippery when you pull it out!
Next, we tried resting a stone at the bottom of the bowl on top of a slotted spoon. We layered the paint on top of the water and then lifted the stone out with the spoon. This didn’t work as well as we hoped! If you try it, make sure to use a spoon that you don’t mind messing up with the paint.
I’d suggest using latex gloves for this project, which we did not. That’s where the nail polish remover and cotton swabs came in handy! Also, paper towels. Plenty of paper towels! Because, without gloves, both of us had nail polish all over our fingers and the effect was not so attractive. Why didn’t I think to get gloves when we were at the store? The world may never know, but next time I will be more prepared. Promise!
Let the painted stones dry for several hours before moving on to the next step! Later that evening, each member of the family named two things that we are grateful for this year. Using the white paint marker, I wrote one of these things on the smoothest area of each stone. After these dried, I wrote the name and year on the backside of the stones.
Have fun trying to guess which stone belongs to which family member! I’ll give you one of them: Eric got brownie points for saying that he’s thankful for his “wonderful wife”. That would be me, OBVS…
After the paint marker words are dry, coat the stone with the polyurethane spray to protect the finish. I chose the matte spray because it will make the stones look more natural and easier to read! I don’t like the high-sheen look of a glossier product, and I thought that it would create a glare that make them harder to enjoy. I’m pretty happy about how they turned out!
We will probably do some iteration of this project every year from now on. Maybe next year they won’t be technicolor hydro-dipped, though… This mama actually prefers a more subtle color scheme. Oh, who am I actually kidding?! Neon it is!
But, I jest.
Currently, our gratitude stones are lined up across the kitchen windowsill. I like them there, where I can see them and meditate on our blessings throughout the day. Each time I return to the sink, which is often, I see them there like a row of Ebenezer stones reminding me that the Lord is faithful in every season!
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” (1 Samuel 7:12)