Thursday, April 29, 2010


It's been a while since I've done a project. But today I did one. Actually, I did 22.

My friend Jennifer is working hard at putting together fundraisers for her Relay For Life team and she asked me to put on my thinking cap and help. (There was no pressure AT ALL when she said I am the most creative person she knows. Uh-uh. That didn't phase me in the least. Nooo. It does mean that she knows a whole lot of uncreative people though...or that she doesn't get out much.)

Anyway, I made a little something for her, but she was most taken with one particular item and asked if I had anymore.

I did not.

Which brings me today.

Today I made bath salts.

It could not be easier or, ultimately, much cheaper.

I used (per batch):

1 cup Epsom salt
1 cup kosher salt
Wilton icing coloring
essential oils (I liked vanilla or peppermint)
a funnel
a Ziploc bag
a container
a ribbon of some kind
scrap paper and glue

1) Pour the salt into a Ziploc Bag

2) Add coloring. You won't need too much. I prefer lighter colors for the finished product.

3) You have to really mash and knead and shake the bag to get the color to distribute well

When you have it mixed how you want, open up the bag and add some of your favorite scented oil. Shake it up, take a smell and see if you like it. If not, add some more. Do a few drops at a time because you can always add more, but you can't take it out.

Once you have it smelling nice, pour it into your container of choice. For Jennifer I divided it into small, single bath "doses" in small baggies. For another friend I poured it into a jar. A funnel made that task much less messy.

For both, I scrounged up some scraps and made tags with directions for use:

Sorry for the blur.

And the finished products:

Cute, right? A great gift for Teacher Appreciation, Mother's Day, or really anything you can think of. And it was all made with what I had around the house.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

More Barf

Seriously, is this ever going to end? My poor, poor Peanut.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Little Helper

When all the kids were sick, and Husband was preparing to leave for his business trip, my stomach began to churn. Curly was worried.

"Who will take care of us if you get sick?"

"I don't think I will be too sick to take care of you. I'll manage."

"But what if you have the barfs?"

"I'm sure it will be okay."

With uncertainty written all over her face, it was my Peanut who was prepared to help.

"Mommy, I will hold the bowl for you if you get the barfs. I will hold the bowl so you can go 'blah' into the bowl and not on the carpet. I will help you."

While my stomach was flip-flopping, my heart was saying "awwww". Such a sweet, sweet gesture from such a tiny little girl.

I felt very cared for, even though I didn't have to take her up on her offer.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Big Girl

So before the Great Flu Invasion of 2010, Curly and I were at, where else, Target, perusing the dollar section. She had a buck to spend and it was burning a hole in her pocket. As she browsed, I spotted something I actually needed.

"Curly, look, Tinker Bell lunch baggies! Do you want those?"

She shakes her head "No."

"No, no." Say I. "Not with your money. I'm all out of baggies anyway, so I need to get some. I can get those instead of regular ones."

"No thanks."


"Mom" she looks around and then lowers her voice, as if to let me in on a HUGE secret. "They're kind of for babies."

"Ah." say I, nodding as if I completely understand..

But inside I am screaming "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Why does she have to get big? Tinkerbell is for babies? (Please disregard that she has a TinkerBell backpack. I guess that's OK, because she's had it all year.) What's next, she'll be too cool to hold my hand? (Sssssh. Don't tell me that yes, that is next. I don't want to know it.) I suspect that within the the next trip or two the Princess Lunch at Disneyland will be something she does to humor her old mother and that pretty soon we'll be discussing brand name clothing.

Growing up is the hardest part of parenthood some days.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

On the mend

Things are looking up. I think we have beaten this bug. Poor Husband had to battle it on his flight to Hawaii today. But the kids seem back to normal for the most part and I'm feeling fine. Let's get on with our lives!

Friday, April 23, 2010


It started with StinkyMan, this nasty tummy bug, and has now spread to the two youngest girls. Curly is standing strong, but I suspect it will get her too.

I am tired. So very tired.

I'll blog soon.

UPDATE: Curly became tummy bug victim number 4 around midnight. However, BabyGirl slept through the night after having a fair amount of Pedialyte, so perhaps the bug is not as strong as it was when it hit StinkyMan because he never rested that well. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Last night Curly had a "Dads and Kids" event at school but, as usual, her Daddy was out of town. She so wanted to go. Usually Husband would rearrange if at all possible so he could accompany her, but that simply wasn't possible this time.

We are so very fortunate to have a lot of family nearby. One phone call to a fun uncle and a "replacement dad" was procured for the evening.

She had a great time and her completely awesome Uncle B even bought her a Happy Meal afterwards.

Sometimes, when things get overwhelming or I need some help or the kids need something I can't get done, I truly realize just how lucky we are to not only have family close by, but family who loves and supports and helps us in any way they can.

Thanks to you all, but especially for last night to the wonderful Uncle B. Your participation meant the world to my big girl. She was still talking about it this morning.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Baby Shower

Today I had one foot out the door to a baby shower when Peanut stopped me.

"Mommy, can I go?"

"No, Honey. It's not for little girls. It's for grown up ladies."

"But I want to go."

"Sorry, Baby. Not this time."

"But you can't go. You'll break it."

"I'll break it?"

"Yeah. You're too big for the baby's shower because the baby's shower is little. You'll break it. I won't break it. I'm little."

"Ooooh. Well you can't come, but I promise I will be careful, OK?"

Nodding seriously, she says "OK Mama, don't break the baby's shower because she'd be sad."

"I won't. I promise."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Perfectly Presidential

StinkyMan has been learning about The Presidents in school. Seriously, he knows them all. Name any and he can instantly tell you who came after him and if he thinks for a few seconds he can tell you who came before him. I'm pretty sure they are learning it in song form.

So I'm in the shower and he's sitting on the edge of the tub and I'm shouting out Presidents and he's telling me their successors. I mean I'm reaching back to the corners of my brains where there are cobwebs trying to remember some of these guys. Guys like Polk and Garfield and Hayes and Fillmore.

So when I run out of Presidents, knowing full well there are more, he says "Mommy I know one you forgot!"




"Piercenbew. And after him was Cannon!"

Took me a second.

I'm pretty sure he means Pierce AND BUchanan!

So I go check the internet.

Yep. Buchanan came after Pierce.

I'm all at once thrilled with his smarts and awed by his innocence.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

For My Little Artists

This is my art cabinet:

Actually, what that is is the cleaned up version of what it normally looks like. A week ago I had enough of paper, pens, markers and glue sticks falling out onto my head every time I opened the doors. I could never find the staple remover, was always trying to scrounge up kid sized scissors and I had no idea where all my dry erase markers had gone. And Husband is the king of sticking random stuff in there (notice the light bulbs.)

So I cleaned it up.

It was better, as you can see above, but not great. I still had stuff behind more stuff and more than once this week I couldn't find a pen or a pencil.

But I can now:

A stroke of genius if I do say so myself; a simple $8 shoe organizer on the inside of the pantry door. The top row is all stuff I don't necessarily want the kids just to be able to access at will, like scissors, Sharpies, ink cartridges and such. And I still have lots of pockets left to fill, or leave empty as I need or don't need. I even have a pocket for those teeny little Nintendo DS game cartridges we seem to easily misplace.

When the kids got home, they shrieked with glee at being able to see their art supplies and so easily choose their tools of creativity. They spent all afternoon coloring and making and was awesome. And when they were finished they happily put it all right back where it belonged, ready to do more tomorrow.

Aaaahhh. I love feeling organized. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it's the best!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The terrible 2/3 combo

Peanut seems hell bent on proving that the age of 3 is so much worse than 2.

On the flip side, BabyGirl seems well on her way to proving that nearly 2 and 2 aren't going to be easy either.

I worry they will conspire against me.....

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tic Tac Toe

StinkyMan was playing with a wooden Tic Tac Toe game when he held up the X and said "Mommy I get that this is Tic." Then grabbing the the O he said "And I get that this is Tac. But where is the Toe?"

I have no clue. I don't even get the Tic and the Tac!

Then this morning Peanut asked me how people get in the TV and how the dancing flower on the cartoon she was watching got out of the ground.

Uh. Yeah. Is it acceptable to just say "It's magic?"

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Price of Perfection

This is what your bathroom will look like when your three year old will only use non torn, perfectly square with no extra bits hanging on, toilet paper:

Friday, April 2, 2010

Cute Easter Basket Extra

I have to say this was not my idea. I saw it somewhere, but I can't remember where. I don't know if it was a blog or a magazine. If you've seen this project before, let me know where so I can give credit where credit is due.

But seriously, how darling are these?!

I KNOW!!!!!

And all you need is this:

To make your own Easter carrots my only suggestion is to stuff one goldfish, facing fishy head down, as far down into the point as possible. Then pour the rest in, tie them off with the raffia and then add some more raffia for effect.

Voila! An easy, fun, different Easter treat that's not candy!


Sometimes people ask me the funniest question. They say "How do you do it all?"

The truth is, I don't. Not even close. Last year when all my friends were here I begged them to make themselves at home, but not to look in the closets. The children and their toys have invaded every room of my house, despite my efforts to stop it (I blame Husband for his collusion on that. He let them into the front room and now I can't get them out!) I'm not a very good housekeeper. There is a lot of clutter and there are many days when my shower has to wait until naptime...after lunch! And some days I would only get a C for effort.

But I do have a few things I do to make my life easier, cheaper and to me, just more smooth.

1) Layered Bedding.

With the baby in diapers and Peanut very hit or miss as to whether or not she makes it though the night in panties, I like to layer their bedding. I make their beds, lay down a waterproof pad (a big one, to cover most of the mattress) then I make their beds again. If they wet their beds, I just peel back a layer and don't have to worry about making a brand new bed at 3am! To that end, I also have a diaper, wipes and clean jammies handy, just in case.

2) Goodbye Dryer Sheets

We do a lot of laundry. A LOT. And I was finding dryer sheets all over the house, because I am not organized and can't always contain the laundry to the laundry room. They were in my room, the kids' rooms, even downstairs sometimes and a few times they got washed in the washer! I think they multiplied in the night. I switched to the Bounce Dryer Bar. You could also switch to dryer balls. Voila! No more dryer sheets to clean up. The Bounce Dryer Bar is NOT cheaper, but it makes my house look better and my life easier, so I think it's well worth it.

3) Stretching supplies

We allow our kids some chocolate milk and we use the chocolate syrup to make it. When I've squeezed the last bit out of the bottle, I pour the milk right into the bottle, swirl it around and get another cup or 2 out of it.

I have also taken up canning to really take full advantage of fresh fruit from local crops. Next up: fresh veggies. It's so nice to know I have what I need on hand and exactly what is in it. And yes, it can take hours if you have a lot to can, but 5 or 6 jars of jam take less than an hour and saves me tons of cash. And if it takes a day, so what? I figure I make that time back skipping those aisles in the grocery store for months while I'm shopping.

I have blogged before about making my own laundry soap, sugar scrub, reusing hotel soaps and soap scraps, making vanilla and more. These steps not only save money, they are FUN for me, which makes them less of a chore. And contrary to popular belief, they aren't that time consuming. For example, I like to watch LOST. I'll just grab the grater and grate soap while I watch. Admittedly I have become so engrossed in LOST that I have grated my fingers, but the point is, it's done in a blink and I've done 2 things at once.

4) Stock up

If there is a good sale, either with our without coupons, I stock up. I can't remember the last time I bought one pack of diapers. If I'm buying them, rest assured it's because I am adding them to my supply at home and the sale is great. I haven't bought wipes since mid 2008 and I probably won't have to buy any until 2011. I don't buy toothpaste unless it's free. Ditto for deodorant for me. Husband is choosier about his brand of deodorant, so when it's on a great sale I stock up to my eyeballs. We've had shaving gel for both of us in the stockpile for probably 8 months already and we have lots left....I paid $2 for all of it. I think it was something like 16 cans. This isn't rocket science or even a pain to do. You just have to know how to work the store sales and coupons. Need help? Check out savings blogs like, or It's so nice just to never really run out of essentials. Worried about having too much of something? Donate it and write the value off your taxes!

5) Laundry Schedule

I used to have a laundry schedule and I got off track. When I had a laundry schedule I knew what was clean, where everyone's socks were and if we had enough towels. It was heavenly. I need to get back on it because life was definitely easier with one than without. Same goes for meal planning. Meal planning will even save you money. You won't buy at the store what you won't actually use.

6) Ask For Help

I get overwhelmed. Who doesn't? I have lots of built in help. Husband is great about throwing stuff in the washer or cooking dinner or letting me go out to get stuff done. But he's also gone quite a bit, which is where my mom often steps up by grabbing something for me at the store or watching the kids so I can run a quick, child free errand. But I will enlist other people if I need help. My retired neighbors across the street are always happy to sit with my kids if I need to run to the store and someone is asleep. If I don't want to wake the little girls from their naps to do school pick ups, I'll call a classmate's mom and ask if she wouldn't mind picking up Curly as well. I do try to return the favors, but most of the time people are happy to help. Don't be embarrassed to ask. We all need help sometimes.

7) Freecycle and CraigsList

Don't buy it if you can get it for free! When I wanted to start making homemade bread I asked on Freecycle if anyone had a breadmaker they wanted to part with. They did! Hello FREE breadmaker! When I needed a poodle skirt for the Daddy/Daughter Dance, I posted on Freecycle. I had no less than 4 offers. CraigsList has an entire section devoted to free stuff, which is where I got the metal frame for Peanut's bed. Craigslist is also where I've found some great stuff for way less than what I would pay in the stores and in really good to brand new shape.
Another thing Freecycle and CraigsList are good for: getting rid of your old stuff, either for free or for sale.

8) Breath and Laugh and Take Time For Yourself

Remember to breathe. Count to 10 if you need. Stick your kids in front of the TV if it will give you 5 minutes off. Don't be afraid to put a screaming baby in her crib if you just can't listen to it anymore. She'll be fine in there but you might not be if you don't put her in there for a little while.
Remember your sense of humor. Kids are funny. While it might not be that funny when you have to clean the paint residue out of the bathtub, the painted kid is funny. While it might not make you laugh, whatever it is, in the actual moment, remember that these stories are all memories in the making. Take pictures. In a year or 10 years it will be funny. Chances are it will be funny in an hour. Let yourself laugh and enjoy. It's not funny that your house is a mess, but if you can appreciate the fort they are building or the game they are playing that made it that way, you'll feel a lot better.
Everyone deserves a break, even you. Whether it be a hot bubble bath at night, a glass of wine if that's your thing, a dinner out with your spouse or time away alone or with girlfriends, make sure you take care of yourself. If Mama isn't in good shape, then neither is Husband, Kids or House. You must take the time to recharge. It's essential to the well being of your life.

So there you go. I don't do it all. I don't even come close. But those are all things that make my life better. If you adopt even just one, maybe your life will be just a smidge easier too.

And sometimes a smidge is just what we need.