April 2, 2013

keeping busy

Lately, I've been keeping myself pretty busy making things. It seems like there is always some holiday or a birthday keeping me up to my eyeballs in projects. I just thought I'd share a few of the things I've made over the last couple months.


I made these t-shirts for a Mario themed party and a pirate themed party.
I later added a name to the hook shirt, but forgot to take a picture.
Here is a tutorial on freezer paper stenciling.
Each gift cost about $4.00


A tote bag for my best friend. 
cost: $1.99 for the tote from Hobby Lobby.
Big spender, I know.  I did buy her a margarita to go with it, though.
 


A hooded bath towel for my niece's first birthday.
Her parents call her Jo Jo.
I used a modified version of this tutorial for this towel,
but have since found another one that I like better.
Total cost was about $8.00.




 
Also for my niece's birthday, I made these color and shape bean bags.
I used fabric scraps so the total cost was about $2.00 for two bags of beans
and I think I only used one of them.


 
Finally, for my niece, I made this dress.
Actually, it turned out to be more of a shirt that I had to pair with leggings.
I somehow managed to hack off half of the skirt without thinking about what I was doing.
I got the idea from this tutorial, but didn't really follow it.
Total cost for this was about $10.00
It would have been less, but I didn't have any ribbon at home that I wanted to use.


I made this car play mat for my girls for Easter. 
It cost me nothing because I already had the felt.
It took quite a while to make, though.
 


Stella has formed an attachment to Cinderella. 
I think it's cute to hear her try to say it.
In the past when one of my kids took a shine to a certain character,
I would go out and spend tons of cash buying anything with that face on it. 
I am very proud to say that I don't do that anymore.
However, I found this Cinderella shirt on a clearance rack for $2.00 and couldn't resist.
I used this tutorial to turn it into a nightgown for her.
 
 
 
all of these pictures were taken with my iphone.  please forgive the poor quality!

March 28, 2013

Thinking Outside the Basket

I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of the Easter Bunny.  He and I have never been on very good terms.  Honestly, I find much of what he does to be messy, wasteful and well, annoying.  I hate buying Easter baskets.  What purpose do they serve after Easter is over?  We have 4 kids living in a small house.  I have to keep my clutter to a minimum.  I know that they can be reused next year and I have reused the ones that I have bought, but I would much rather fill something useful with goodies for the kids.  Here are some ideas that I've used in the past and some that I will  use in the future. 

1.  Picnic basket.  I did this for Corrina one year.  I bought the basket, filled it with Easter goodies.  This picnic set still gets used 7ish years later.



2.  Corrina got a sandbox from the Bunny when she was 3.  Her "basket" of treats was a sand pale filled with toys.



3.  My kids love to garden with their dad and uncle.  If you have a gardener, why not fill a small wheel barrow or wagon with gardening tools, seeds, and of course a chocolate bunny.
 
 


 
4. Corrina is 9. She spends all of her free time painting her nails, removing the paint and starting over again. For the tween, why not buy a make up bag and fill it with nail polishes, remover and design kits



5. Kennedy is 5 and loves to help in the kitchen. If you have a chef-in-training, you could fill a mixing bowl with an apron, some fun kitchen utensils and a couple mixes. Don't forget to throw on a few plastic eggs for cracking practice!




6. For babies, I love the idea of a bath time basket. Fill a bath toy basket with toys, washcloths, a towel, bubble bath or wash.

 
 


7. Arts and crafts. What kid doesn't love arts and crafts? Try filling an organizer with chalk, finger paint, watercolors, paper, glue sticks, google eyes, the list goes on and on.



8. For the reader, you could fill a tote bag with books, bookmarks, a Barnes & noble gift card. For smaller kids, let them take their bag to the library on Monday and sign up for their very own library card!





9. With summer vacation being just around the corner, you could fill a beach tote with pool toys, a towel, sunglasses, and a new suit.



10. If you're not interested in a theme, you could always try using a storage container of some sort. This year, I bought a small one for Corrina and a big one for the other girls to share. I got these at Target.  The heart storage boxes are sold individually in stores, but not online.  I think I paid 3.99 for one.
 
 



There are tons of ways to avoid pesky Easter baskets. When it is all said and done, you may need to use a filler. My suggestion is to avoid that awful Easter grass stuff. Try tissue paper instead. It can always be reused for gifts or crafts.

March 27, 2013

Goodbye, Old Yeller

I spend a lot of time looking at myself and thinking of ways that I can change for the better, especially in my parenting.  When it comes to the way I parent, I am constantly trying to make improvements.  Recently, I took a look at myself and realized that I yell.  A lot.  I yell to be heard.  I yell when people are in trouble.  I yell when I'm frustrated.  I yell because I'm in a bad mood and I take it out on others.  I yell because the kids move too slowly to the car.  I yell because nobody is listening to me. 

I've decided to challenge myself to stop yelling, ESPECIALLY at the kids.  I have tried to rationalize my yelling.  I've told myself that it's necessary.  If I don't yell, how will the kids know that I'm angry or when they're in trouble?  How will anyone know to listen to me?  The answer is simple.  I will tell them.  When I'm yelling, I am not conveying my feelings, the kids are not learning any lessons, and everyone tunes me out.  Yelling does not get results. 

When I yell at my kids, they are learning that it's OK to yell at others in order to get what they want.  They learn that I'm not listening to them.  They learn that it's OK to make others feel like crap because you're mad.  These are not things I want my children doing and yet, here I am teaching them to do exactly that. 

I want my kids to listen to others.  I want them to be able to convey their feelings without hurting others.  I want my kids to respect me and others and know that I respect them.  I want them to learn self-control.  I want them to know that people are people, whether grown up or small.  It is not OK for me to do the opposite of what I tell them just because I'm an adult.  I want them to learn by example. 

My plan is to go 1 month without yelling.  I am on day 2.  It hasn't been easy, but I know it will improve my relationship with the girls and hopefully their relationship with each other.


January 15, 2013

Choosing Routine Over Medication

I have noticed that when it comes to "difficult" kids, everyone has an opinion, a suggestion, a solution.  I have also noticed that there are too many people willing to share them, even when it's someone else's child.  More often than not, these suggestions and solutions are geared around changing the child or "fixing" the child.  I am constantly being told that I need to put Georgia on medication or maybe she would behave better if I tried spanking her every once in a while. 

Georgia has a lot of energy and there are days when she is emotionally all over the map.  I'm not interested in running out to get my ADHD diagnosis and put her on medication.  As for the spanking, I don't understand why people think that hurting a child who is already crying is going to make that child stop crying.  Instead of "fixing" her, I prefer to help her through as much as I can. 

I've started her on a b-complex and a fish oil supplement.  I am trying to cut as much sugar as we can from her diet.  She and I worked together to build a routine to help getting ready for school and bed easier. 

This is what we've come up with for morning and night routine.  It helps for her to see what needs to be done and keeps me from constantly nagging to do this or do that. 

 
 
 
 
I put one in the kitchen to check off in the morning and one in the bedroom to check off at night.  Each one has a box for Georgia and one for Kennedy to check.  They've made a game out of it and like to race. 

As a parent, it's my job to help my kids be the best they can, not change who they are, what they feel or how they act.  These are just a few small steps but they can make a world of difference.

January 14, 2013

I have no street cred

I love dropping the girls off at school in the morning.  It seems to be one of the few times in the day when I get to connect with Corrina.  It's these times when I realize how amazing and funny and helpful she can be and am reminded that she is only 9.  She always double checks that everyone is in the car for me.  One morning Stella was being so quiet that I worried I had left her toddling around in the yard and drove off without her.  Corrina was very concerned that if I had left her, someone would probably find her, think she was a stray and keep her.  (please note that I did NOT leave Stella in the yard) She now double checks to avoid this.
Always worried about her image and looking for ways to improve it, she suggested that we put a bumper sticker or two on our van to make it "more creative".  After explaining that we're not really bumper sticker kind of people, she suggested spray paint.  She is under the impression that this is a great way to individualize our minivan.  I thought about it for a minute and said that she might be right.  I shared my idea of painting "momalicious" on the side, along with a large woman with 2 large breasts feeding a baby.  I thought this would be a pretty good representation of my personality/life/every day.  She did not agree and told me to forget the spray painting idea because I will never be cool. 

sigh... 

story of my life.

Now I'm left wondering where the hell she hangs out with people who are spray painting cars.  We don't live in the best neighborhood, but at least no one is spray painting their cars.

January 11, 2013

It's a little dusty here

Hello, everyone!  Happy 2013!  I've decided to come back and clean this place up a little.  I'm going to change a few things and get back to blogging on a fairly regular basis.  I have to say that I've kind of missed it.  I look forward to sharing with you again!

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