Monday, March 31, 2014

March Madness at Our House

What? You thought this post was going to be about basketball? No, my bracket went BOOM approximately the moment that Duke set foot on the court. Anyway, this is good stuff, much more entertaining than college basketball! Read on for moments of March Madness at our house.

L: "Miserable looks like this." {puts fingers in corners of mouth and pulls it down into a frown}"Happy looks like this." {pulls mouth into a smile}
This one makes me put my fingers in the corners of my mouth and pull them up.

Brett and I were discussing Logan's sickness and he said, "It's really taking it out of him."
M: "Do you think he has the sleepy flu?"
This could be a real thing. You never know, right?

M {asking for a treat}: "Can I have Star Wars?"
Me: "Huh? Do you mean Starburst?"
M: "Yeah, is that what they're called?"
Whatever works, I suppose.

M: "Do we have any leprechaun music?"
Um, no. However, in retrospect, perhaps this was my clue that I needed to make the leprechauns come...

L: "Are you ready to go on a jewelry hunt?"
What's a "jewelry hunt," you ask? Well, this is what happens when you leave bobby pins and other hair things within reach of a four year old boy. He had "hidden" them all over the living room for me to find.

M: "I taught Ritzy how to beg! She sat up!"
Me: "On her own?"
M: "Yes! Actually, I had to lift her... but eventually she started to balance."
Well, okay then.

L: "Did you never see someone lose his eyeball?"
Me: "No, I never saw that before."
L: "Well, I think I did. In a song." {launches into his rendition of "Oh the Little Monster Loses His Eyeball" -- a song known only to him, it would seem}
Gotta love his imagination.

Me {at the stove top, turning around}: "Guess who's not in a good mood?"
M: "I don't like this game." {walks away}
Snarky crisis averted. Take that, college prof who told us that kids didn't "get" sarcasm. She knew enough to get away, and that's all she needed to know!

L: "Baths have liquids in them."
True story.

Me: "Oh, Logan!" {as I see him Hoovering up Goldfish cracker crumbs from the table -- with his mouth}
L: "What?! I'm a cleaning machine."
Just think if his cleaning-machine mode worked half as often as his mess-making mode...

L: "I want handburgers for dinner!"
Sorry, little dude! I'm fresh out of ground handburger, but I may have some foot-long hot dogs in the freezer.

L: "I have oysters on my bottom... because it hurts!"
I have NO idea, but this is pretty dang funny.

M: "Guess what my favorite part of this masterpiece is?"
Me: "What?"
M: "Everything. Because it's so magnificent!"
She gets her humility from me, obviously.

M: "Mom, can you get down my big, floofy, pink skirt?"
Me: "Um... You mean your tutu?"
Yeah, 3 1/2 years of dance classes are paying off. At least Mommy knows some of the vocabulary now.

L: "Do they call them 'scissors' because they go, 'sizz, sizz, sizz' when you use them?"
Well, if that's NOT the reason, then it should be.

M: "Lasagna is sort of like a cheese and sauce meat sandwich."
I never really thought about it... but yeah, I guess so.

L: "I like chips and Hot Wheels more than anything else in the whole world."
Good talk, buddy.

L {playing Hungry Hungry Hippos}: "Do hippos eat snowballs?"
Me: "No."
L: "These ones do."
I had been about to tell him that hippos actually eat plants, but then I figured, "Why?" He was so sure.

L {at dinner}: "When I'm bigger, can I marry Mia or Mama?"
Me: "No." He looked sad, so I added, "Don't worry, when you're bigger, you'll meet somebody who's even better for marrying."
M: "Don't you have to go to college before you can get married?"
Me: "Sure. That sounds like a good idea."
Yes, let's go with that.

L: "I'm a forgetter and my sister's a mistaker."
Don't let her hear you say that!

L {after his big potty accident}: "You'll have to give the floor a bath."
Ah, yes, floor bathing -- one of this mommy's many special skills.

L: "Can we go shopping?"
Me: "What do we need to shop for?"
L: "Hot Wheels!"
Duh, Mom!

Me: "What should we get Zoey (a friend) for her birthday?"
L: "I don't know."
Me: "What does she like?"
L: "Well... She does like me!"
Great. We'll just put a bow on you then! 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

I've been Deceived (and There's a Dead Fish in My Purse)

Yesterday started off as a great family day. We had the last swim lesson, and we had promised the kids way back on the first day of class that they would earn an ice cream treat at the completion of the five-week session. So, we went to Dairy Queen and had Blizzards -- for lunch! (We had never had ice cream as a meal before, but it made me feel like a pretty cool mom.) Then, on the way out of the mall, we were passing through the sporting goods store and Logan wanted to ride the escalator. So we did. Up and then down. Just because. I went home on cloud nine, absolutely convinced that we were the most awesome parents in the world.

It turns out that this may not be all that accurate.

Let me back track a bit and mention that on Friday, Mia's first fish, Bluey, had gone to the big fish bowl in the sky. (If you're keeping track, this meant we only had him for four days.) Of course, she was very upset, and I was frustrated. I thought we had done everything correctly. We had set up the tank last Sunday according to the directions given by the kid at the pet store and then had gone back the next day to get the fish. He was happy for about a day and then he started to look bad, and then he looked worse, and then by Friday morning, he was barely hanging in there. I prepared her for the worst and dropped her at school, returning later to find that Bluey was dead.

I called the pet store, trying to figure out what the problem might be so that we could fix it before plunking another betta into the tank. The guy on the phone said bring in a water sample to have the pH level tested. So, I did that Friday night and he said the pH level was actually good, but there was another issue: the nitrite level was way too high and he said nothing could have survived in that water. (Correct me if I'm wrong here, but wouldn't this have been good information to give someone before her kid spent her own money to buy a fish?!) Then he told me to take out about 1/3 of the water in the tank (our well water) and replace it with spring water. (Again, shouldn't they have told us this in the first place?!)

I told Mia I would get it sorted out, and we went back on Saturday afternoon. (Remember, this after the swim lesson, ice cream lunch, and escalator ride that had me feeling like Super Mom so I was feeling cautiously optimistic.) Fortunately, I was also thinking ahead a bit and I took both the dead fish (with receipt, for exchange) and another sample of water, just to be safe. Turned out that the water was still problematic, so it was good that I thought to have them test it again. (The only downside was that I then had a dead fish in my purse.) We returned home, and Mia was weirdly okay with still not having a second fish. She has taken this whole thing better than I have, so maybe I am doing something right with this parenting business.

Later that day, things took a turn for the worse.

I was busy with something when I noticed that familiar odor coming from the living room. (And no, it wasn't the dead fish. He was secure in his Ziploc bag inside my purse.) "Logan," I asked, "Are you poopy?" "Yes!" was his immediate response. Wonderful, at least he was honest. This is progress. At this point I am just hoping to have him fully toilet-trained before he is ready to head off to college.

So, I carried him into the bathroom to get him cleaned up, at which point he informed me that it was diarrhea and it had been running down his legs. The. Whole. Time. He got a bath, and so did the the floors.

That was exhausting. I was pretty sure that things were going to be looking sunny again after dinner, though, because we had purchased Frozen while we were out shopping. We were going to have a family movie night! (This is something I am told that good parents do.) We had not actually seen this movie before (and yes, I realize that we are practically the only people in in the known universe who hadn't -- except for some people in some obscure place like Timbuktu or something.) Anyway, our kids tend to be scared by new movies, and thus, we hardly ever go to them.

I was sure it would be fine, though, because ALL of America had told me so. "It's such a great family movie!" you all gushed. "Your kids will love it!" you claimed. "Full of positive messages!" you declared. Lies. All lies. I've been deceived, people! 

The kids were TERRIFIED, and not just once, but numerous times. In truth, the actual plot of the movie is very intensely frightening at times. While I will agree with you folks about the positive messages, I have to say that they are rather mature themes, and really are more appropriate for older kids. That said, who cares about the positive messages when each parent is holding a crying child (one of whom is half-hiding behind a couch cushion because he simultaneously wants to watch and doesn't want to watch) and making him or her to endure in order to get to the happy ending?

I went to bed feeling like crap because I had forced my kids to watch a scary movie because everyone else said it was okay. (And, also, I had just received a permission slip in the Friday Folder because the first grade teacher is planning to show it to the class this coming Friday, and I wanted her to have the experience of seeing it with us first!) What kind of messed up peer-pressure parenting is that?

Now, back to that dead fish in my purse... The Sunday school teacher told me after class that Mia announced, "My mom has a dead fish in her purse!" (Luckily, she has a good sense of humor and found this amusing, adding, "I love how brutally honest she is!") She noted that Mia had spent most of the time diligently working on a card that read, "Dear Blooeye the fish, I am praying for you! Love, Mia." I couldn't help but think that she should have invested some prayer power into Bluey II.

After church, we took a third water sample to the pet store after church, and I was relieved to hear that it was acceptable. (I did one thing right, at least.) Mia finally has her replacement betta, and nice orange fellow aptly called Orangey.

{What? You didn't expect a picture of the purse fish, did you?!}

After getting Orangey acclimated and then released into his new home, I returned down stairs and discovered that Ritzy was pulling things out of my purse -- including that Ziploc bag containing the remains of Bluey -- now not so fresh since we had made multiple trips to the pet store just for water sample testing. Thank God that dumb dog didn't figure out how to open the bag. (And God bless my child who let me unceremoniously flush the poor thing who apparently never stood a chance of survival.) I had dealt with enough messes for one weekend!

Morals of This Tired Mom Rant Story:

  1. Don't believe everything you hear! (Be it movie recommendations, or how to properly care for a betta fish. "They're really hardy," means squat if the water is uninhabitable.)
  2. Dead fish should not be kept in one's purse. Or, if you must keep a dead fish in your purse awaiting "burial" at least keep it out of the dog's reach.
  3. Being a mom is hard. I think this bears repeating.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Homemade Eye Shadow Experiment

These are my first experiments with homemade eye shadows (and probably not my last because they are not quite right). I started with the basic idea and recipes found on Love Your Body, and then tweaked them to suit my preferences. This meant using less of the stuff that made the most color -- beet root powder and cocoa powder. I'm not even going to note the proportions that I used for a second experimental shade of brown, which called for nutmeg. I will just say that nutmeg felt tingly on my eyelids I quickly removed it with my homemade eye makeup remover before it had a chance to cause any real issues! (After that, I decided it was not worth it to experiment with the other recipe that called for allspice. That one made me nervous.)

{Beet Root, Failed Nutmeg, Cocoa Powder}

1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder
1/4 teaspoon beet root powder
1/8 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon shea butter

1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon shea butter


  1. Combine arrowroot powder in a small bowl with your desired pigmented ingredients. (I used cocoa powder, beet root powder, and the not-as-good nutmeg.) A spoon is all you need to mix them well. Tip: You can increase the amount of arrowroot powder for lighter shades and add more of the other ingredients for more vibrant and darker colors.
  2. Add some shea butter to the mixture and use the spoon to cream it into the powder until thoroughly combined. (Note: I am slightly skeptical about whether or not this actually helps. The author of Love Your Body says that this will help it stay in place on eyelids. I found it to be kind of clumpy and the application was not as smooth as I had hoped for.)
  3. Store your eye shadow in an airtight container, or multiple containers if you are making more than one color. 
  4. Application: I am still trying to figure out the best way to do this. A wet brush produced too bright of colors on my eyelids. Using a regular sponge tip eye shadow applicator did not work with the texture of this eye shadow. It just fell off. The best luck I had was with an eye shadow brush and many sweeping motions. However, I still had eye shadow that seemed gritty and I had to take a damp cloth and wipe my face beneath my eyes, not something I normally do with commercial eye shadow application. Once on, though, the colors were nice and natural, so this gives me hope that further experiments will yield more desirable results with homemade eye shadows.
{Modeling my all-natural homemade eye shadow.}

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

3-Ingredient Homemade Sugar Scrub

This week is making me a teensy bit stressed out and it's only half over. Mia has a new pet, Bluey, that we brought home on Monday. Remember what it was like to have a newborn baby? How you constantly kept checking to make sure the baby was still breathing? Well, I have a newborn now, too, except my "baby" is a betta fish and at least a dozen times in the past couple days I have checked to make sure that he was still kicking -- I mean, swimming!

Then there was yesterday, when Logan announced, "I pooped my pants!" (Darn! He was doing so much better lately, too.) Of course, this was right as we were about to head down to the bus stop. And, of course, the bus was running early for like the second time all year. Yes, that wild woman running down the street holding a little boy upright, neither of them in hats or coats despite the never-ending winter weather... That was me.

Fortunately, I was able to take a nice relaxing bath after the kids were in bed. I soaked in some homemade lavender bath salts and then I pampered myself some more with this skin-softening sugar scrub that I made a few days ago. After that, I nearly felt like a new woman. Having smooth and soft knees, elbows, and heels feels really great, and I can't help but hope that the weather will turn soon and I will get to show them off a bit more!

When my friend Jaci shared this recipe for homemade sugar scrub that she had guest posted on The Blessed Nest, I knew I would have to give it a try! (Thank heavens I did. It's just one of those simple but wonderful indulgences that keep this mama from losing her mind.) This is super quick (think under 5 minutes!) and easy to pull together -- with ingredients in your kitchen!

The only item you may not already have is the essential oils. For this batch, I used orange essential oil purchased from a nearby health food store. You can also buy essential oils online. Here's how to make your own little bit of heaven in a jar.

{Pretty Bow + Label = Easy Gift Idea!}

  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons oil (I used EVOO.)
  • 35-40 drops essential oil (I used orange.)
1. In a good-size bowl, combine sugar and oil. (I like extra virgin olive oil.) Stir until well-blended.

2. Add essential oil of your choice, and stir some more. I used 40 drops of orange essential oil, and I found this to be nice for several reasons. First, it is one I already had. (Others were tea tree, lemongrass, lavender, and peppermint, and orange just seemed to fit with this homemade beauty item.) Orange essential oil is relatively inexpensive. It smells lovely, and I think most people will enjoy the refreshing citrus scent. As a added bonus, it goes well with the color achieved from this particular brand of olive oil I used. (The color of your sugar scrub may vary according to your ingredients.)

{Freshly Mixed Sugar Scrub.}

3. Store in air-tight containers. This makes enough to fill about 4 half-pint mason jars, perfect for gifts! I just added a ribbon and a simple hand-made label to the top of the jar.
4. To use sugar scrub, rub into skin and then rinse off. If using it on your hands, you may want to do it over the sink. For other parts of the body, apply in the bath or shower. 

Note: I've noticed that the oil starts to seep to the top of the container after a few days, so you may need to mix it up before each use. This is easy and quick to do with your hands -- although a spoon would probably be better to help prevent any contamination.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Homemade Blush Trial #2

A couple weeks ago, I experimented with making my first homemade blush with beet root powder, which had a good outcome. It ran out quicker than expected in part because I gave some away. (Really, I don't mind that because it's always nice when somebody in interested in my kitchen science experiments.) The bigger issue was that I did not it in an air-tight container, as I am always recommending. In fact, I didn't even put a lid on it so there was spillage and moisture invasion.

Okay, those of you who are gasping in shock can kindly close your mouths now. Haven't you ever told your kids -- or anybody else -- to "do as I say and not as I do?" Glass houses, people.

There, I 'fessed up and you know the real reason why I needed to mix up another batch of blush. In the interest of science, I felt it was important to try at least one more version before making up my mind on the recipe. Since I had tried both the beet root powder and the hibiscus powder for my tinted lip balm experiments, I decided it would be simple enough to make the blush again and substitute hibiscus for the beet root. I kept the proportions the same to get a fair idea of how the two stacked up against each other.

{2-Ingredient Homemade Natural Blush}


  • arrowroot powder (mine is organic)
  • hibiscus powder (mine is organic)


  1. Using a spoon, combine arrowroot powder and hibiscus powder in a small bowl or container. I used 1 teaspoon of hibiscus powder and 1/2 teaspoon of arrowroot powder. You can adjust the proportions to suit your personal preferences. I stored my blush in a container with a lid this time (although I am not certain that my old Altoids tin is actually air-tight enough to prevent moisture from seeping in.)
  2. Apply with a makeup brush as you would any loose powder makeup. (Dip brush into the powder, tap off the excess, and gently brush onto the apples of the cheeks, spreading upward along the cheekbone to blend.)
The Results:

The color of the hibiscus is similar to the beet root, but I think the beet root recipe went on smoother and blended better than this second attempt. Also, whenever I have applied the hibiscus version, it seems to fly off the makeup brush and I get it into my nose, which is not something I enjoy. Overall, I preferred my first experiment to this one. (I wouldn't call this a failure, though, since it did produce a usable all-natural blush.) I don't know if it is a coincidence that I liked beet root over hibiscus for both homemade blush and homemade tinted lip gloss, but I am not quite ready to write it off entirely. I plan to make some homemade powder eye shadows in the future and it could still prove to be the perfect ingredient.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Our Newest Family Member

I would like to introduce our newest family member, Bluey the betta fish. We are officially a two-pet household now. Mia has been saving her money for quite some time in order to purchase Bluey and all of his necessities so this is a very BIG deal. Bluey's tank -- complete with pink pebbles, two plants, and the small decorative glass fish and glow pebbles -- were found at garage sale back in the spring. This has been something she had been thinking about for months.

Then she got distracted from her goal and spent all her money on LEGO Friends and jewelry back in the fall. When she saved up a second time, I knew she was pretty serious about getting a fish for a pet. Yesterday we went to Pet Supplies Plus and picked up some Betta food, a net, a blue dolphin decoration, and the all-important water treatment (so the fish won't immediately die from whatever may be in our well water).

Ever since cleaning everything and getting it set up, Mia has bugged me to go back for her fish! She didn't have school today, which was perfect for another trip to the pet store. It didn't take her long to settle on the the most colorful betta fish available. She originally planned to name her fish "Rainbow" no matter if it was a boy or a girl, but once we were on the way home she announced that "Rainbow" was not an acceptable name for a boy fish. And so, Bluey got his name.

{Proud New Fish Owner!}

Bluey appears quite comfortable in new home, which I have to admit is a relief. I haven't kept fish in years, so I was a bit apprehensive about making the transition to keeping fish again. It's hard not to worry just a little bit, especially since I'm not the only one who will be disappointed if it suddenly dies. So far so good, and as a bit of comfort to worried mamas everywhere, it's nice to know that we can keep the receipt and return "the body" should anything unfortunate happen to Bluey within the next seven days.

{Bluey checks out his new digs and his dolphin pals.}

The only thing that has me concerned now is that Mia tells me that today is Bluey's birthday -- since it's the day we brought him home -- and we need to celebrate! Huh? How on earth do people celebrate birthdays for fish?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Very Hungry Caterpillar Hat

March is Reading Month, so Logan's preschool class did an author study on Eric Carle. Yesterday, he came home with this cute Very Hungry Caterpillar hat to share with his sister. It's a quick and easy craft to do with little ones.

{Celebrate Reading Month with this Fun Hat!}


  • construction paper (red, yellow, green, black)
  • scissors
  • paper trimmer (optional)
  • glue stick
  • stapler


  1. Cut two strips of red paper about 3-4 inches wide. Staple one piece to the other, end to end. Wrap the extra long strip around your child's head for size, and then cut off the excess. Tip: A paper trimmer is nice for this, but scissors will work, too.
  2. Cut two yellow circles for eyes. Ours are about 2 1/2" wide. Cut two green circles, slightly smaller (Ours are about 1 1/2" wide), and have your child glue them to the yellow circles. Glue the eyes to the center of the red paper strip. Note: Circles do NOT need to be perfect!
  3. Cut two narrow strips of black paper, about 1" wide, for antennae. Tip: Again, a paper trimmer is helpful, but you can use scissors if you don't have one. Staple these to the red paper strip, on either side of the eyes.
  4. Staple the ends of the red paper together to finish the caterpillar hat, which your child can now wear!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Back in the Running!

Good news, everyone! I am officially back in the running for Mom of the Year. Yesterday, I figured out that if I arranged the grilled cheese sandwich slices in a pyramid shape and then nestled fruits and veggies into the compartments, the little dude would nearly make it into the "Clean Plate Club." (Not that I ever force the kids to eat everything, but you get the point, right?) This was huge, like 3-point-shot-from-the-half-court-line-nothin'-but-net HUGE. Go, Team Mommy!

{Mommy shoots and scores! Everyone wins!}

To make the pyramid, first cut the sandwich in half on the diagonal to get two triangles. Set one aside and cut the other in half to make two smaller triangles. Place the large triangle upright, with the flat side as its base. Then, set each of the two smaller triangles flush against the big triangle, so that the flat cut edges serve as the bases and the sides that rest against the large triangle. It should look like the two small triangles are pieced back together, with the other sandwich half dissecting them. This sounds slightly complicated as I am trying to explain it, but it is truly simple!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"Magic" Starry Night Painting

{Magic Starry Night Painting}

A couple of weeks back, the story time theme of the week was "Night Sky." Mrs. D., of course, had a great craft project to go along with that: "magic" crayon resist painting. All of the kids got a kick out of seeing stars magically appear when they applied water color paint to what looked like plain white paper!


  • heavy weight white paper (water color or card stock works best)
  • white crayon
  • water color paint (black, dark blue, or purple)
  • paint brush
  • yellow paper
  • scissors
  • glue stick
  • paint shirt/smock (optional)
  • something to protect work surface (optional -- vinyl tablecloth, newspaper, cereal box liner)
  1. With a white crayon, draw stars on a piece of white paper. (Older kids can do this themselves, but you will need to do it for little ones.)
  2. Give your child some night-sky colored water color paints and a paint brush. Have him cover the paper to "magically" reveal the stars! Set the painting aside to dry. (Tip: You might want to protect clothing and work surfaces before having children paint.)
  3. Cut a moon shape from a scrap of yellow paper. Have your child glue this to the night sky painting using a glue stick. That's it! Your child's "magic" night sky painting is now ready to be displayed.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Luck under Pressure

Generally speaking, we don't make a big deal out of St. Patrick's Day. We have a few decorations that get put out at the beginning of the month. Most of the family will wear something green on St. Patrick's Day. Occasionally we do a craft or make a special treat, but nothing has become a tradition for us when it comes to March 17th.

So, you can imagine my surprise when one excited little girl clambered into my bed yesterday morning, inquiring whether or not the leprechauns had come. Huh? I didn't know this was something I needed to make happen. I've got the Santa act down pat (except for that one time) and I am becoming a pro at finding fun (not naughty!) new things for our Elf on the Shelf, Coconut E. Butterfly to do. The Easter Bunny always visits our home each year. Our newest special friend, the Tooth Fairy has even put in a couple of appearances.

But leprechauns? They're not really in my repertoire -- although I did make rainbow cupcakes for St. Patrick's Day a couple years back because Mia kept asking about leprechauns and wondering when they were going to bring her some gold. At least then she had given me some advance notice so I could come up with a plan! This time, she gave me no warning that she was expecting leprechauns. She simply believed that they would show up and cause mischief at our house because they had done that last year in her kindergarten classroom.

Well, one thing was for certain. There were not going to be any shenanigans! If some leprechauns did happen to come to our house, they were not going to make any big messes for me to clean up. (Remember, Coco doesn't do naughty things because that sets a bad example.) Why would I make my life unnecessarily harder?

I thought about this off and on throughout the day. I alternated feeling guilty for not making a bigger deal out of St. Patrick's Day and feeling like I shouldn't have to make a big deal of it and that maybe it was okay to let it slide because if I did make a big deal, then it would become an expectation to always make a big deal. (See, being a mom is so hard! There's always something to feel guilty about and blow completely out of proportion.)

At the end of the day (Think 5 minutes before we walked down to the bus stop!) guilt won out. Logan was busy eating a snack, so I grabbed the green paint and ducked into the bathroom where I dashed off two little "leprechaun foot prints," using my fist and finger tip. It didn't seem like quite enough, but I was not about to make a whole bunch of foot prints. I didn't have the time, and it would have violated my no-BIG-mess/no-shenanigans policy.

Then, I realized I had a couple small items set aside... that were probably meant for Easter baskets, but I'll deal with that later. Next to the leprechaun prints, I quickly set an Angelina Ballerina Uno game (from a garage sale) and a Lightning McQueen pencil pouch (clearance find). All that was left to do was wait for a lucky little lass and a lucky little lad to discover what the leprechaun left for them. And, speaking of luck, I was lucky that I was the only one who noticed the green paint on the cuff of my sweatshirt!

{Quick, simple, and cheap solution to an unusual problem.}

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Case of the Mondays

On my to-do list: make a card to go with a baby gift for an upcoming shower. Done, but I have to show you this goof that I almost made. While gathering materials, I came across some cute animal paper, which reminded me of the nursery bedding the mommy-to-be had registered for. I grabbed that and some other girly accessories, including a letter "k," the first initial of the baby. Then I assembled what I thought was a finished card. Once I stopped and actually looked at what I had created, I saw a potential problem...

{See anything wrong with this?}

"Special K Miracle?" Hmmm... possibly the next big thing in breakfast cereals? You get a new baby and then you can magically fit into your pre-baby bikini that same summer! Or not. I don't think Kellogg's will be paying me big bucks for this idea any time soon.

While this wording may have gotten a few chuckles at the baby shower, I really wanted it to be more thoughtful. Needless to say, I removed the "special" tag and replaced it with a more suitable one that read, "cutie pie." Crisis averted, and I am now off to tick more things off my to-do list on this Monday.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

When in Doubt, Eat Chocolate

In case any of you were wondering, Why hasn't Meg updated her blog in a few days?... I have created a list of excuses reasons. In no particular order, they are:

  • Two words: snow days. Oh my word, am I ever sick of these! Ten for this school year -- two this week --and it is still officially winter. In other words, I am not exhaling yet...
  • The dog had surgery this week and she is trying to make me feel guilty. See Exhibit A:
{Fur baby guilt trip}

  • I already have a heaping load of guilt on my plate, thankyouverymuch. Everybody else is talking about how they are signing their similar-aged kiddos up for kindergarten, and we are redshirting Logan. He truly is NOT ready, but still, it makes me feel like I have somehow failed.
  • I was honestly avoiding my blog for a bit because I was thisclose to writing a snarky post about how much it stinks to be the classroom volunteer who counts and sorts the Box Tops. I do try to keep it positive around here, but I just have to show you this Exhibit B and I think you may understand why I am going slightly bonkers and will never again volunteer for this job. EVER! 
{Why would anybody tape these to a random piece of paper -- front and back -- why?!}

  • I've been kinda busy coordinating meal deliveries for a couple of mamas in my MOPS group. Note, I am not complaining about this, just stating a fact. It is part of my job as hospitality coordinator, and it's one of the few things that has made me feel useful and good this week. So there's that.
  • I will do just about anything for my children. This now includes scooping a rabbit carcass (and assorted innards) out of the road immediately in front of our house, tromping through the huge drifts of snow in the back yard, and burying it under a mound of snow behind a tree -- all so that when Mia gets off the school bus, neither child will see any evidence of the Easter Bunny's demise.
  • The time change is kicking my butt. (And if I ever meet Benjamin Franklin, I will be sorely tempted to kick his butt! I think all the moms will understand.)
  • I am doing 40 Bags in 40 Days as my Lenten sacrifice. Truthfully, I have not given up anything for Lent in years. I used to do this in the BC (Before Children) era of life, but since doing 5+ years of pregnancy and breastfeeding, I have a hard time wanting to give up anything. I am making pretty good progress -- only missed one day -- and I have completely sorted through both kids' wardrobes and already given a bunch of things away! So, this worked out well as a way to purge things I don't need without having to give up chocolate, and let's face it. If you just read all that junk I just unloaded up there, you can probably guess that I have been hitting the chocolate.
And that brings me to the happy point of all this. Chocolate. Mia was bummed last night because Brett told her that it was Pi Day, and I had not made a pie. (Obviously, I was tied up with all that other stuff, but how do you get a seven year old to understand that?) 

{Chocolate Strawberry Pie! Isn't it pretty?}

I went shopping and got a few things to pull together a pie today, but I wasn't really sure what type of pie I wanted. I had gotten both a graham cracker crust and a chocolate graham cracker crust plus strawberries. I was waffling between making strawberry pie or making chocolate pie. Then, this phrase popped into my head, When in doubt, eat chocolate! Yes, of course, chocolate was the way to go. 

After I made a batch of chocolate mousse, I realized that it would not be enough to fill the pie shell. Disappointed, I turned to Brett and asked now what? His suggestion was to add strawberries, (They are the bottom layer.) which made for a tasty and beautiful pie. (Prettiest I've ever made!) Perfect! I love when he comes up with the perfect solution to my kitchen quandaries. We're a pretty good team -- not unlike chocolate and strawberries.

{Somebody finished hers and then sidled up, hoping for more.}

Notes to self: This recipe for whipped cream came out better than previous attempts. Might be the stand mixer, or the use of powdered sugar over granulated sugar. Or maybe I just rocked it! Next time, try sandwiching strawberries between two thin layers of mousse.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Million Dollar Question

Some things in life are a complete mystery. Take, for example, this spot that has suddenly appeared on my kitchen floor. What precisely is it? I'm not sure. Any number of sticky things, I suppose. 

The real question, however, is How did it happen to take the exact form of a question mark? That, folks, is the million dollar question! Unfortunately, the world may never know. It seems that our mystery stain has a pending date -- with my mop. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

2- Ingredient Homemade Blush

I don't remember how I came across this recipe for a natural blush, but I was so excited when my arrowroot powder arrived today and I finally got to try it out! I had used beet root powder to make this tinted lip gloss a few days ago and then decided to experiment with the beet root powder as a blush, applied straight up. The color was pretty good, (although it appeared too harsh at first, before blending).

The main problem with pure beet root powder was that it didn't seem to have staying power. Without giving it too much of a test run here, I am feeling pretty optimistic that the arrowroot powder is going to do the trick to make this a longer lasting blush. As a bonus, the color is more subdued. It's quite lovely, really -- the perfect natural flush, made with totally safe, natural ingredients.

{All natural and just 2 ingredients!}


  • beet root powder (organic)
  • arrowroot powder (organic)

  1. Using a spoon, combine arrowroot powder and beet root powder in a small bowl or container. I used 1 teaspoon of beet root powder and 1/2 teaspoon of arrowroot powder, following A Blossoming Life's 2:1 ratio and simply making a smaller batch. I was quite happy with the color, but you can adjust the proportions according to your personal preferences.
  2. Apply with a makeup brush as you would any loose powder makeup. (Dip brush into the powder, tap off the excess, and gently brush onto the apples of the cheeks, spreading upward along the cheekbone to blend.)
{Glowing, if I do say so myself. Thank you beet root powder.}
Stay tuned... In all fairness, I feel compelled to test this out with the hibiscus powder. In the meantime, I am enjoying the glowing results of my oh-so-minimal efforts! This is truly one of the simplest DIY projects I have ever tried, and it was so, so worth it.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Homemade Tinted Lip Balm Experiment #3

When I posted about my first attempt at making a tinted lip balm, I had one anonymous person suggest using hibiscus. It's been a long, hard winter and I am wanting something different. (Warm sunny weather would be nice, but since that seems far off yet, I will settle for just about anything that is different!) I decided that it would be fun to give the homemade cosmetics another go. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, the beet root powder arrived first, so I tried that and was pretty pleased with the results. Now that the hibiscus powder has come, I had to see how it compared.

{Side by Side Comparison}

  • Non-petroleum jelly (directions can be found here)
  • hibiscus powder (mine is organic)
  1. Place some non-petroleum jelly into a small container. I started with a tiny amount (1/4 teaspoon) and eventually realized that I needed at least 1 teaspoon for it to mix decently.
  2. Add some hibiscus powder and stir with a spoon until the powder is combined. I started with 1/8 teaspoon and kept adding a 1/8 teaspoon more until I found the amount I was happy with -- 3/8 teaspoon. (This makes for a very fair comparison because these are the exact same amounts that I used to make the last trial with beet root powder.)
  3. Apply tinted lip balm with a lipstick brush or a Q-tip. (These one seems to stain skin a bit more than the beet root powder version, so I don't suggest applying with a finger.)

Does it work? Yes, for sure. Will I use it? I'm not sure exactly. The two blends look nearly identical when placed side by side, but there are some differences when they're actually put to the test.

Pros: The hibiscus goes on lips with a more vibrant lip color. (You can see this in the photo where I blotted my lips.) Obviously, this is a major perk since this is what I was after in the first place.

  • The hibiscus seems to leave more grittiness which ended up on my lips and then on my teeth. (Hence I did not show you a disembodied lip pic this time. Once I zoomed in on my lips, I saw how much gunk was on my teeth. Not exactly the polished look I was going for.) 
  • Also, it seems to have more of a taste than the beet root powder -- It is not all that yummy tasting, I am sorry to say. (And I'm not really a fan of beets, so you might expect the roles to be reversed here.)
  • As mentioned above, it also seems to stain skin more than the beet root formula, which could be a problem...
I will probably keep testing them both out alternately and see if I come up with a clear winner, but at the moment I am leaning toward beet root powder over this version with hibiscus powder.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Homemade Tinted Lip Balm Experiment #2

Remember a while back when I tried to make my own tinted lip gloss and failed spectacularly? Well, this time around I am definitely on the right track! I had ordered both beet root powder and hibiscus powder, intending to use only the hibiscus for this, but it's on back order. So, I went ahead and experimented with the beet root powder (which I bought to make my own natural blush, but the other ingredient I need for that is also on back order).

Overall, I am pleased with the outcome. The color is both pretty and natural looking, things that are I consider a must for a lip product at the moment. Also, it has great shine and it conditions my lips nicely. The biggest advantage of this recipe over my previous attempt is that it doesn't taste horribly sour! In fact, it doesn't have a taste at all. Of course, I also love that I don't have to wonder about what is contained in my lip color. My only complaints are that it wears off easily (the color mainly -- the lip balm itself has more staying power), and it's not exactly the most portable of lip balms considering that the base is my homemade non-petroleum jelly.

{Please excuse the weird disembodied lips pic - wanted to show how it looks on!}



  1. Place some non-petroleum jelly into a small container. I used one teaspoon and put it in a small Tupperware type container that has a lid.
  2. Add some beet root powder and mix with a spoon until all of the powder is dissolved. I started with 1/8 teaspoon and gradually added more until I found a color I was happy with. This was made using 3/8 teaspoon of beet root powder. You can adjust your ratios according to your personal preference.
  3. Apply tinted lip balm using a lipstick brush, a Q-tip, or a finger. (Note: I'm not sure if that last option will stain your finger or not.) Enjoy!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Rainbow Collage Craft

I have vented my frustration with this winter, and I am now ready to move on to spring! Here is a recent project that we did that looks very cheerful hanging in my now winter craft-free home. I am hoping that this will at least brighten my outlook on things since it doesn't appear that spring will actually arrive for a bit yet.

  • construction paper (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple)
  • paper trimmer (optional)
  • scissors
  • glue stick
  • box board (side of cereal box)
  • large bowl, pan, or lid (for tracing)
  • pen/pencil
{Rainbow by Mia, Age 7}

  1. Cut one inch strips of colored paper. Trim each strip into smaller squares, about one inch in diameter. (Note: Older kids can also use this for scissor skills practice and cut their own. I chose to have materials ready in case my little dude also wanted to make a rainbow.)
  2. Cut away one side from a cereal box. Using a large bowl, pan, or lid, trace around it to make an arch, starting from one end and going to the other. Using one side as the base, you will end up with a semi-circle. Cut out the semi-circle. (If desired, you can do some additional cutting to the center section to make it into a true arch. Mia wanted it as-is, so I didn't do that.)
  3. Give child the box board semi-circle (or arch), paper squares, and a glue stick and let her create a rainbow. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Mia did it very carefully, laying out the red partway, and then starting each other color, until she knew how it would look. She discovered that she had to overlap some tiles to work with the curves. I was really impressed at how she handled this with so much skill and dexterity! (Optional note: You can first draw lines to make the rainbow into sections. This may be helpful to younger children.) Tip: Another fun addition would be to add cotton ball clouds. Regular school glue or tacky glue works best for that. 
    {Mia was systematic about laying the collage tiles.}
  4. Once the glue is dry, display the rainbow collage -- perfect for St. Patrick's Day or any rainy day!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Winter Blah Blah Blahs

I just need to rant a bit and get it out of my system. Feel free to check back in later if you're just here for the crafts and my usual sunshine. I'm fresh out of those at the moment.

Yep, this mommy is dead tired of this winter. It. Needs. To. End. The sooner, the better.

I am tired of the cold. I cannot remember another winter when it has been so cold for so long. It got above freezing, what, twice this calendar year? Yes, it was nifty to make frozen bubbles, but this whole polar vortex thing has gotten quite old. The wind chills have been unreal. I am sick of school being canceled due to extreme cold. I am sick of being cooped up inside due to extreme cold. Thank heavens we have natural gas because I know there is a propane shortage, and I should not complain. Even though we're running the furnace higher than we ever have before, at least we are keeping warm while we are inside. Mostly. We've run through a lot of hot chocolate mix...

I am dreaming of a tropical vacation. Heck, I'd even take the kids if it meant getting away from this winter that never seems to end.

I am tired of the snow. Really, three more inches? And the snow blower is broken again?! We just had it fixed. I shouldn't even complain since I have barely done any of the shoveling, but seriously, we have had snow, snow, and more snow for two months straight. While it was fun for a while, and it was cool to finally get a snow ice cream recipe to turn out properly, I am over the snow.

The children are over it, too. They keep asking when spring will come. Even Ritzy is sick of winter. Our poor little dog hardly knows what to do. She gets stuck, so she hardly ever leaves the porch or the deck any more.

Snow, snow, snow! But no packing snow. We have not made a proper snowman all winter long, which is frustrating. I kept hoping that it would happen, but at this point, I am so sick of snow, I hardly care any longer. I've been around the house putting away all snow-related decorations that were still up: snowmen, snowflakes, the snow-covered Christmas village. I can't stand to look at it any longer!

Most of all, I am sick of things being canceled due to snow -- too much snow, blowing and drifting snow, snow that makes the roads treacherous. I have driven into two snowbanks this year, which is two more than I have driven into in my entire life prior to this winter! This means that there are two parts of the front end of my van that are in less than perfect condition now. (The most frightening part was when my van was hanging out in the road, Logan was in the back seat, and the school bus was coming. Thank God there were three gentlemen who came along and helped me out.) I have also driven through two intersections because my van did not stop even though I was going slowly and braking. So scary! And, it freaks Logan out when we leave the school, and the van brushes against the ginormous snow mound at least once a week. You'd think he'd be used to that scraping noise by now.

I am tired of the ice. We've had "snow days" that were really ice days. Do you know how much I hate that? They can't play outside when it's icy. And once more, things are canceled because there is no power, so there's more being cooped up. (I should not complain, of course, because we have been blessed with power at our house all winter, but still...)

We are out of salt. Everyone, everywhere is out of salt. It is insane.

The ice is my real nemesis. I have lost so much traction this winter! One morning, after hearing the cruuuuuuuuuunch all the way into town, I knew I had to stop and get the ice out of the wheel wells. So, I parked in the Walmart lot and proceeded to chisel away at the ice chunks -- they were solid, all the way around every single tire, filling the entire wheel wells!

I broke my ice scraper while trying to remove the ice, a casualty of this winter's extreme conditions. The good news is that Walmart had ice scrapers so I was able to replace that, at least. Also, the broken end worked better, anyway, so I'm keeping in case I have need of more ice removal. Yet another casualty of this harsh, harsh winter was my favorite dangly silver earrings. They must have slipped out while I was chiseling away in the Walmart parking lot -- where I may or may not have been the subject of photos or videos -- some weirdo appeared to have had his cell phone on me the entire time. What is wrong with some people, anyway?

I am tired of all the damages. While backing out of the driveway last Tuesday morning, I bumped into the trash can. Instead of flipping down, the rear view mirror snapped off, and is now dangling by a wire. (Brett had taped it back in place, but he bumped it again today, and it is flopping around again.) I don't even know what is to blame exactly. The snow -- driving into snow banks? The ice? The extreme cold? Neither of us could believe that it just broke like that! It's been a rough winter for my van -- and for me.

If you see a YouTube video of a frustrated lady trying to get ice off her tires with a snow scraper in the Walmart parking lot... It might be me. Also, if you happen to find a pair of silver earrings, I am still mourning their loss, and would love to have them back! In the meantime, I am still dreaming of that tropical vacation...

Saturday, March 1, 2014

17 Lunchbox Jokes-of-the-Day for St. Patrick's Day

Mia loved the  Christmas and Valentine's Day lunchbox jokes, so I decided to continue this for March. This is a collection of my favorite kids' St. Patrick's Day jokes from the following web sites:, Kids Play and Create,, and Enchanted Learning (some of which I have edited to make more sense, in my opinion). The last couple jokes are probably over Mia's head, but I included them anyway.

I typed these in Microsoft Word and and then pasted in free clip art images from around the web. (As an aside that I think is worth mentioning: I made sure that none of the leprechauns had mugs of beer or pipes, because really, I didn't want to go there. I don't feel like answering questions about what the leprechaun is holding. Plus, it keeps it appropriate for school.)

I included 17 jokes, one for each day leading up to St. Patrick's Day -- even though she doesn't have that many school days. This gives us extra to include throughout March, or I can pick and choose what I think will be funniest to Mia. We actually started them yesterday since she came home from school on Thursday and pouting, asked why there had been no joke in her lunch that day!

Q: What kind of music does a leprechaun band play?
A: Shamrock ‘n’ roll!

Q: How did the leprechaun beat the Irishman to the pot of gold?
A: He took a shortcut!

Q: What do you get if you cross poison ivy with a four leaf clover?
A: A rash of good luck.

Q: What position does a leprechaun play on a baseball team?
A: Shortstop!

Q: What did one Irish ghost say to the other?
A: Top o’ the moaning to you!

Q: Why do frogs like St. Patrick’s Day?
A: Because they’re always wearing green!

Q: What do you call a fake stone?
A: A shamrock.

Q: Why did St. Patrick drive all the snakes out of Ireland?
A: Because he couldn’t afford a plane ticket!

Q: What is Irish and stays on the lawn all summer?
A: Paddy O’ Furniture!

Q: When is an Irish potato not an Irish potato?
A: When it’s a French fry!

Q: Where can you always find gold?
A: In the dictionary!

Q: What kind of bow cannot be tied?
A: A rainbow!

Q: What happens when a leprechaun falls into a river?
A: He gets wet!

Q: Why do people wear shamrocks on St. Patrick’s Day?
A: Real rocks are too heavy!

Q: Why would you never iron a four leaf clover?                                                              
A: Because you shouldn’t press your luck!                                                           
Q: What job does a leprechaun have at a restaurant?                                    
A: Short-order cook!              
Knock knock.
Who's there?
Irish who?
Irish you a happy St. Patrick's Day!