I Pinned This - Easter Eggs

Easter is just around the corner and we had yet to decorate eggs.  Today was the day and instead of using the typical Easter egg dye, I wanted to give this Pinterest find a try
Here's what Pinterest promises: 
Coloring Eggs - Use Shaving Cream and food coloring (dark colors) - roll in shaving cream let sit, wipe off. Very Cool for Easter!

Here's what I did: 
I gathered up all of the materials needed.  
Chloe swirled the food coloring around in the shaving cream.
We rolled the egg around. 
Let it sit, then wiped it off. 

We like bright colored eggs so for us... 
Worst part... my hands will probably look like this until tomorrow night. Sucky.
We resorted to normal Easter egg dye after 3 attempts. 


A Personal Anxiety Attack

Life is normally predictable.  You know what tomorrow will bring by looking at your schedule. Plans are made for your day and are expected to be met to some degree.

Then there are the days where something happens and everything is thrown into the air, leaving you to wonder when things will feel back in place. Leaving you standing there, awe-stricken at how many things we take for granted.  Sometimes these days are rocked by a unexpected death, an accident, or a broken heart.

I'm close to my parents.  Physically (about 7 miles between our houses) and emotionally (we talk daily).  A year ago, my dad went through a threatening case of diverticulitis (a hole in the colon).  It was a couple weeks in the hospital, intense treatments of antibiotics, and a lot of worry.  When he was first diagnosed, it was extreme enough to push your mind to the dark side of losing a loved one, and it rocked my world for quite a while.

Thursday night, my healthy mom tripped on a kitchen rug and fell.  Big deal, right? We all trip and fall.  There was no one home to see what happened, but the end result of her falling is a crushed eye socket, broken left side of her nose, and a pinched muscle that affects her ability to blink and see.  She hit the sharp corner of the island with her chest leaving a small puncture wound.  She's sore from landing, from the swelling, from her glasses smashing into her face.

As we learn the extent of the damage, and the amount of surgery she will need to correct the breaks, it makes me sick.  Sick with worry, sick with anxiety attacks, sick with "What if"s.

Life is precious. Life is short. A simple trip can send things falling into chaos.

Hug your loved one a little tighter next time and remember to enjoy the little things.  I will every time I see my mom, knowing although this sucks, she will be OK.



Alphabet Easter Activity for Little Ones

This is a super fun way to practice letters with your toddler or preschooler! There are so many variations that can be done to satisfy your little one's development and what kiddo doesn't love Easter eggs?!

Start with a bag of plastic eggs.  I got this bag from Walmart, about $1.99.  48 eggs total.  We only need 26.
Based on your little one's letter recognition, you can do this a couple of ways.

  • The first way is to write the uppercase letter and lowercase letter on the same colored egg.  This will help narrow the choices down for your kiddo, making them feel more successful (which is what this is ALL about).  
  • The second way is to mix all of the egg pieces up and write the uppercase and lowercase letters on different colored pieces.  They will have to rely on the letter, rather than the color.  (You will have to cut the pieces apart if you choose this method.)
Using a sharpie, and your best writing, write an uppercase and lowercase for each letter.  Make sure to get the uppercase on the TOP egg and the lowercase on the BOTTOM egg. 
My daughter knows all of her letters so I opted for the mixed colored eggs.  This is will help her become more fluent with recognizing both uppercase and lowercase letters. 

Activities with your eggs:  (remember, your goal is to help your child feel successful so start small)
  • Start with a few eggs (the letters in their name is a great start).  As your little one gets better, add a couple of eggs. 
  • Hide the eggs and line them in ABC order as you find them.
  • Put small objects that begin with that letter and guess what may be in it. 
  • Have your little one sort objects by beginning sound and put in correct egg. 
Can you add any fun activities to the list? 


I Pinned This - Mess Free Painting

Sometimes messy things don't bother me.  Sometimes I would rather stab myself in the hand than deal with the mess.  Today is one of the stabbing kind of days.

Here's what Pinterest promises: 
I got out a plastic freezer Zip-loc bag and cut a piece of card stock to fit inside the bag. I squeezed some big drops of different coloured tempera paint onto the paper and very carefully slid the paper into the bag. I then closed the bag and using duct tape, taped it to one of our craft trays. (Rainy Day Mum)

Here's what I did:
I got a Zip-loc bag, the only paint we had laying around, and some clear packing tape.
I keep my paint in a bottom drawer of my craft dresser, thus the dot of paint on the top of the lid. It helps know what color the bottle is without pulling every container out! 
I squeezed in some paint.  Not too much because I know my kid and the likelihood of the painting squirting out from too much pressure was high.
I taped it up to the sliding glass door instead of the table.  Partly because of what I said about paint squirting out (and the hope that it would be harder to pop the paint up) and letting the light shine through the bag to see whatever she was "painting".
Make sure to squeeze all the air out of the bag before sealing and taping it! 
Play and enjoy! 
And even with my high-energy little one, this was fun and held her attention for enough time to make lunch at least! 


Monday Favorites

I am a new consultant of Thirty-One Gifts.  I love love love the bags that they offer (ranging from totes, to thermals, and cubes).  They have the cutest patterns and each bag I can think of 20 different ways to use.  If you've never heard of them, check out my personal site and browse around.  See something you like, you can buy it and have it shipped directly to you! Go to my Thirty-One site, chick on My Parties, and pick Shop Now next to an existing show.  (You won't get your order until the show is closed, but parties won't be open for longer than a week usually.)
Justin Timberlake... and everything he does... is awesome.  His music is AHHHHH.  His comedy cracks me up.  His dancing and style is amazing.  His History of Rap with Jimmy Kimmel... PERFECTION!
This is quite pathetic, but sometimes my blonde really comes through.  I just discovered that ear buds have a correct ear to go in (The little R and L).  They fit SO much better! 
What's your favorite thing this week?


Upcycling a Baby Doll Bed Tutorial

Isn't it funny how innate it is for little girls to play mommy? I love watching Chloe be sweet and loving to her babies (all 8324 of them).  While helping her go through her toys the other day for our monthly "Let's get rid of anything you don't play with!", I noticed her baby pack-n-play was ripping at the bottom.  It wasn't too surprising, considering the material used to make it, is the same thin material most princess costumes are made of. (and we all know how easily those rip or fray or snag!) 

My first thought was to sew up the hole real quick and move on.  But the more I sewed, the more it ripped.  2 hours later, someone had a completely "new" baby bed.  (It's most definitely not perfect, and when I was taking the frame apart and putting it back together, I tweaked the levelness of it somehow... but it holds babies, the fabric is cute, and Chloe loves it)
   sewing machine (hand sewing would take forever, but you could)
   fabric for the sides ( 11" x 36" )
   fabric for the bottom ( 12" x 21")
   thread to match
   coordinating ribbon
  • Begin by cutting your pieces.  I struggled with the decision to cut panels, or use one long piece of fabric.  I decided it would be easier to manage with panels. (each measurement allows for a 1/4" seam)
    • 2 side panels measuring 11x14"
    • 2 side panels measuring 11x22"
    • 1 bottom panel measuring 11x21"
  • Sew these all together with a 1/4" seam.  (I hate 1/4" seam, but it allows for the least amount of fabric waste. 
    • *Don't forget* Iron your seams for a sharp edge. 
  • Now that you have one long piece of fabric, measure the allowance for your bed leg.  Mine was 1 1/2".  (put your pins in to hold it, then check with the leg before sewing)
    • *Tip* Use a rubberband to mark your seam allowance to keep your sewing straight!
  • Attaching the bottom seemed intimating at first, but just take it one side at a time.  I started with a longer side to get it out of the way. 
    • *Tip*  When sewing with Minky fabric, pin every inch.  The fabric stretches as it runs through your machine and will bunch up if you are stingy with your pins. 

  • As you begin to sew around the bottom, think of the extra material as wrapping paper.  Fold it as you would if it were a present to keep it out of the way. 
    • Attach your bottom to the "wrong" side of the fabric so when you look into the bed, you see the "right" side of the fabric at the bottom. 
    • DO NOT sew the "pocket" for your bed leg. I used a larger pin to remind myself when to STOP before closing the "pocket". 
  • After attaching the bottom, fit your creation (what would you call this thing?) onto your baby bed to make sure all is well. 
  • Cut 10 pieces of ribbon and sear the edges with a lighter to keep them from fraying.  Line them up evenly along the top (over the rail) and attach with pins.  Hand sew or machine sew on. 
  • Ta Da!  High five to you and be happy with the cute (more kid resistant) baby bed! 

Bloopers - Almost every time I do a sewing project, I have at least 1 oops of sewing the fabric together wrong.  I had 3 this time.  Lesson learned, don't do this with "helpers" or past my bedtime.



I Pinned This - Remove Scratches from Leather

As a preface, leather furniture is not really my taste. We have a set of brown leather furniture from the in-laws that the hubby was so excited about when they offered. So excited that I lost the fight about keeping the furniture we already had. Pick your battles I suppose. 

The couches are in pretty good shape, and when we have kids bouncing around, we don't need perfect couches.  The in-laws had a couple of dogs though so there are a few scratches here and there that have never really bothered me, but when I saw this pin I thought "What the heck". 
Here's what Pinterest promises: 
I used a soft cloth to rub the olive oil into the leather in circles.  I think the key is really rubbing it in.  I followed up with a paper towel and buffed it off a bit (mash-upchic.blogspot.com)

Here's what I did:
I busted out the olive oil, an old sock and a Viva paper towel.  I also chose a spot that would not affect the look (or feel if it stayed oily) if this pin didn't work.
The before picture - it's not too bad, but you can see small scratches. 
I rubbed a small amount of olive oil, in circles, onto the cushion.  There was a slight oily feeling when I was done, so I rubbed the paper towel over it and was surprised to find that there was no residue left. 
It looked great as soon as I was finished! I rubbed over it with my finger to check for extra oil and nothing! 

I waited about 5 minutes and checked again... not as great, the scratches are starting to show again.
And 10 minutes later.  Almost completely back. 

Eh, no harm no foul.  I'm just glad I didn't rub this all over the couch and waste our perfectly good olive oil. 



Monday Favorites

Today's favorites are things from our weekend. 
I am slightly embarrassed to admit this, and if you ask me in person I'll probably deny it, but Party in the U.S.A. is my jam.  I cannot help but join in 'nodding my head like yeah, moving my hips like yeah'.  Damn song gets me every time. 
Last night at 8:30, the hubby had a great idea for a bed time snack.  (NOT a healthy one, but delicious nonetheless).  Out came the ingredients, mixers, and bowls.  10 minutes later we were enjoying Homemade Buttercream Frosting with graham crackers.  YUM!
As a surprise for Chloe, we went to see a production of The Little Mermaid on Sunday.  I didn't realize it when I bought the tickets, but the entire cast was kids (7-13).  Chloe loved that it was kids and was ecstatic to meet Ariel after the show. Nothing beats the genuine excitement of a kid.

What's your favorite thing this week?


Breastfeeding is Hard, Part 2

This post is an honest account of a new mom and breastfeeding.
If you missed Part 1, catch up here.

There are a lot of pros to breastfeeding.  I found this link: Timeline of a Breastfed Baby which I liked referring to during my moments of doubt to remember that I am doing something wonderful for my daughter. My favorite part, especially during the first 2 months: You’ve probably heard the delicious fact that breastfeeding uses up the fat stores you laid down in pregnancy. The greatest weight loss is seen in the three to six month period (Moody et al). You’ve just hit the start of this uber fat-burning period.

Aria went through a colic period during our first 3 months together.  It was A LOT of painful crying, no pooping, and hours and hours of screaming.  Chloe did not have this, so my first thought was "it's my breast milk!" We went to the lactation consultant twice, the doctor many times, I cut things out of my diet, all in an attempt to help her.  Nothing helped.  I was ready to throw in the towel again and try formula because in exasperation  I knew she MUST be allergic to my milk.  Everyone we talked to that had any sort of authority on the subject told us to continue breastfeeding, it would only get worse with formula.  Speaking only as a mother who has gone through this, keep breastfeeding! We did give her formula a couple of times to test our hypothesis, and it made the pain and crying intensify.

Everyone's willing to talk about the pros but there are cons to breastfeeding.
  • The feeling (and reality) that all you do is nurse.  It can be as often as every 2 hours. So by the time you're done feeding and changing the diaper, you have maybe 30-40 minutes before you start all over again. 
  • Having a new baby is exhausting.  There are no extra long naps or sleeping through the night while someone else feeds the baby. 
  • Pumping is a pain in the ***.  Getting everything out and ready, sitting there holding bottles, cleaning everything... ugh. 
  • There is no sure-fire way to see how much milk your baby is getting.  Pumping gives you an idea of how much he/she may be getting but even the best pump is not as efficient as a baby's mouth.  
  • There can still be times nursing hurts, even 6 months in.  Everything I read about breastfeeding has told me "If it hurts, you're doing it wrong".  I have learned through experience, even if you're doing it right, it can/will still hurt sometimes. 
  • It it not always convenient to nurse.  Smashed between a car seat and booster seat with a wiggly preschooler makes it nearly impossible for a comfortable feeding for you or the babe, but it's reality. (I see nothing wrong with a mother who is nursing her baby in public, but I am not one of those people)
  • The weight that you put on during pregnancy does not always melt right off if you breastfeed.  Sometimes, breastfeeding does not affect the amount of or speed that weight comes off - it takes hard work.  I did not lose the weight any faster than Chloe, and I had to work out a lot more this time.
  • Every baby poops.  Breastfed babies are supposed to poop after every feeding.  That doesn't always happen and you fear that something is terrible wrong.  Breastfed babies can go a week without pooping, which is a rude awakening when they start cereal and begin going multiple times a day. (Aria pooped about once a week for the first 6 months and we were reassured every few days that she was fine for the first few months.)
  • Getting on a schedule feels impossible.  Breastfeeding is an on-demand job.  You can get there, but it takes fooooorrreeevvvvveeerrrr. (And it will change every few days to a week.)
  • Hugging anyone for the first month or two (or maybe three) hurts. 
  • The risk of a blocked milk duct and/or mastitis
  • The feeling of judgement if you decide to stop breastfeeding for any reason (convenience, pain, schedule, pumping, whyever).
Aria is gaining weight at a painfully slow rate, which leaves me questioning almost daily if she's getting enough to eat and should I start supplementing with formula.  I have had a blocked milk duct which is a painful reminder of the everything you've been through so far.  Aria is getting to the point of becoming easily distracted by things around her while eating so she pulls back, causing me to shriek out as she twists and bites at the same time. It's still difficult to leave her for any length of time; it takes 2-3-4 pumping sessions to get enough milk for 1 bottle.  

What I've learned through my experience so far... breastfeeding is hard.  It's not for everyone. It's OK if it's not for you. It's OK if you struggle through it.  I know I am. 

I know I'm not alone... right?


I Pinned This - Colored Noodles

We eat a lot of different foods in our house but the one thing I have to fight everyone else to eat is spaghetti. The hubby doesn't like it, Chloe claims to not like it, Aria can't have it yet. But I love spaghetti and it makes me so sad. 

I started making Spaghetti Pie a few months ago (easiest recipe EVER below) and the hubby actually enjoys it.  1 down, 1 to go.  I know Chloe likes it, but enjoys pretending (this isn't the only food she does this with) that she hates it and it will kill her to eat it.  So when I saw this on Pinterest, I knew the score would be Mom 3, everyone else 0 - if it worked. 
Here's what Pinterest promises:
Cook spaghetti then fill ziplock 1/4 with water & add food coloring. Add spaghetti... coolest idea ever for kids!! (The link from Pinterest takes you to a photography website of rainbow food, nothing more.)

Here's what I did:
Slightly doubtful about it working as well as the picture I started off by cooking the noodles.  I used linguine noodles so the would be more noodle for the color to stick to.
The best way to get the different colors is to split the noodles up into baggies.  I added enough water to cover the noodles then dropped in 3-4 drops of food coloring.  (I only did some of the noodles in case something weird happened with the food coloring, we'd still have something to eat.)
 I let the noodles sit in the colored water for 2-3 minutes, dumped out the water and put them into a bowl to check the results.
The colors aren't as bright as the Pinterest picture, but they were much brighter than I expected! The yellow was the only one that looks drab, but what do you expect when you're dying beige noodles yellow? 

I threw the colored back in with the regular noodles and finished making dinner.  Once the sauce and cheese were mixed in, they didn't stand out as much, but it was enough to trick our 4 year old into thinking "This is the best dinner EVER!"
Do you have any foods you have to trick your kids into eating? 

A fun thing to do with the colored noodles other than eat - let your little ones "draw" on the table using the noodles.  Practice making shapes or letters!

* Spaghetti Pie (easiest recipe EVER!)
  • cooked noodles (as little or as much as you want)
  • sauce (as little or as much as you want)
  • cheese (as little or as much as you want)
  • Mix the noodles and the sauce together and put into an oven safe pan.  Sprinkle cheese on top (I like to cover the noodles with cheese).  Bake at 400 until cheese is melted and starts to turn golden brown. ENJOY! 
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