Mission project – DONE!

We’ve finished the dreaded Mission Project, and we survived!  Let me be the one to testify right here and now that anyone who is saddled with this monstrous project can indeed create a Mission, and even have it look somewhat like an actual building.  If uncrafty and artistically untalented me can guide my son in making a stucco-esque building, so can you.

First off, I’d like to share a quote with you found from the literary pages of Twitter earlier this week:

“The way you get involved in your own kid’s school projects is a great metaphor/indicator of your parenting style.”  @cmcauley

And let me tell you, from this Missions project I have learned that the way I parent is on the anal, perfectionist side with a bit of overbearingness, which kind of surprises me since I always thought I was kind of laid back.

Because I love quoting awesome cartoon movie scenes, I have another one for you.  Remember that scene in Surf’s Up, when Zeke is teaching Cody how to make his own board?  And Zeke is totally into the shaping of the board?

“Can I do it now, Mom?” the Taz asked me as I painstakingly applied perfect strokes of brown paint on the ground board, making sure to show him over and over how to move the brush in one direction so that every bit of the board was covered with brown.  But he did just fine as he took over and painted the rest of the board in preparation for the actual building.

I learned that another part of my parenting style was the ability to let this be a learning process in parenting, even though I’m more than a decade into this job as mom.

I did do most of the cutting with the Exacto knife, as well as much of the gluing of the building part to ensure a sound structure, for safety reasons, and because that anal side of me isn’t just going to disappear.  But he did the rest of the Mission, and did a fantastic job at it.

One really cool tip for those of you who will be making Missions in the future?  White paint and sand mixed together make an awesome stucco.  The Taz sponged this onto the building, and it looked really realistic when it dried.  And a tip for anyone attempting this – pay attention to measurements.  We created a fake Mission mock-up using construction paper that we taped together.  Of course, even creating a model first doesn’t mean your measurements will come out perfect.  You’ll see why in the pictures….

Our Mission Adventure
By Wine Country Mom and the Taz


The Taz taping the pieces together so I can glue them on the board.


Wearing my Mission Making Uniform, hot gluing the building together.  I do believe this was the worst part of the whole project.  And damn, do I look HOT doing it!


As you can see, I got a little enthusiastic about the glue part.


Even Lucci doubted my gluing skills and tried to take over (no curious kitties were burned by hot glue guns in the Mission making process, nor did they come away with paws that stuck together – though they came close).


At this point I was seriously doubting mine and the Taz’s Mission making skills.  It was looking rather rough with glue all over it.  Plus….


…the measurments may have been kind of screwy.  This part was supposed to be taller than the building.  And as you can see by the sides, we had to overcompensate with the glue in portions where the cardboard wouldn’t meet up.  We thought we had screwed up the whole thing.  But after painting it, adding the roof, and then decorating it with embellishments…..


…the Taz came out with a pretty sharp looking Mission.  Those “bushes” are tufts of Rosemary from the bush outside our house.  The bells are tied by embroidery thread.  The rocks were collected from our backyard.  The cross on the top is a chopped up BBQ skewer.  And the roof is made from correlated cardboard painted red.

Other people created their missions out of clay, out of sugar cubes, and one kid even had electricity in his with a flip of the switch!  Have you had to make a Mission with your child?  How’d it go?  And how much of your child’s project did YOU do?


7 thoughts on “Mission project – DONE!

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  1. As I was reading your article, my son saw me & when he actually focused in on the pictures (especially the ones of your son), he said…”Hey, is that a mission!”, after I told him it was, he said they’re doing the same thing in his class. He was quite impressed that kids at other schools are studying the same thing he is.

  2. Oh my GOD….sometimes when I read your blog I think we might be the same person. I can identify with every aspect of this column, ..and my son’s mission from 3 years ago (which, by the way, still sits on the top shelf of his bedroom mostly because I cannot bear to throw away such an awesome example of what “we” accomplished), is the exact same mission that Taz was assigned, so they look extremely similar from the white-sand paint to the cardboard frame and bell tower…although ours had to be a HAT as well as just a mission, believe it or not.

  3. First let me say that the Taz’ mission is beautiful. Don’t forget to enter it in the Sonoma Co. Fair in early June. I’m in my early 50’s and still remember making my mission model with my dad. My three kids made mission models as well. We always did it together as a family starting with visiting the mission, purchasing or checking out books from the library on the mission to learn all about it, and then culminating in building the model itself. We used various building materials from potters’ clay to sugar cubes. I love the mission model project to this day and think it is one of those things that most people look back on fondly as an important childhood rite of passage as a fourth-grader in the great state of California.

  4. Shawna – that is too cute! Good luck if your family will also be embarking on the Mission making adventure.

    xtinaznap – I’ve heard about the hat Missions! I think teachers must think up evil plots for ruining our lives…

    Native American – the Taz has already been asking me (several times, I might add) if it’s time to enter it. We love entering projects in the fair, so look for it on display this year!

  5. What a coincidence, we chose the Mission San Juan Bautista as well!

    It’s south of Gilroy, really interesting place to visit if you don’t mind the drive down.

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