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Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer Fun Idea: Plaster handprints

Something that becomes clearer to me each day is how quickly my children are growing up.  This is  bittersweet since I love seeing the milestones and growth each child is achieving.  But it makes me sad because I know we can never go back to the sweet, simpler milestones.  I'm sure that all mothers can relate.
Although I did get hand prints when my babies were small, I was looking at my son's big paw this summer and trying to figure out how he had grown from the tiny impression to the big hand.  I have no record of the in-between, so I decided to "capture" each child right now with a hand print pressed in plaster.

I followed the directions on the can of Plaster of Paris by adding cold water to the dry mix.

After I stirred it around, this was the consistency of the plaster.

I poured the liquid plaster into small, sturdy paper plates, and then let it set for about 10-15 minutes.  After it had firmed up a bit, each child pressed his or her hand into the plaster.  I intended on hanging these, so I also pressed a straw through to the plate to hold a hole as the plaster hardened.

After a day, we took the firm plaster out of the paper plates, removed the straws and let them dry for another 24 hours.  I cut a black circle from heavy cardstock and asked each child to write his or her name on the back in silver Sharpie.  We weighed and measured each child and wrote that information with the date under their names.
I glued the cardstock to the back of each plaster print and slid a black ribbon through the hole the straw had left.  Now I have a record of each child's hand, size, and handwriting on this date.  I hung them up in my bedroom where I love seeing them first thing in the morning.  They remind me to seize this day and enjoy the present moments with my precious children.

If I could go back in time, I would have done this every year or so to record my children's growth.  So although my oldest son's hand is getting pretty large, I may do this again every summer (with larger plates) until my nest is empty.  I expect these prints will still make my heart happy when that day comes.

Hope this brings someone else as much joy as it has me!