Wednesday, March 31, 2010

For the record...I think this project is cool!!

I can't believe Easter is almost here!!! Didn't we just have Christmas? It wasn't till Debbie posted about her EGGcellent ideas that I realized Easter is this week and I have nothing prepared. We haven't even bought the dozens of eggs for dying which always ends up with Mommy (that's me) having her own 2 dozen eggs to dye because the kids insist on dipping their eggs in every single dye cup resulting in a grayish brown color. (I do have to say I enjoy the smell of vinegar.)

And I'm pretty sure the Easter Bunny is totally unprepared.  I almost had my kids convinced today that the Easter Bunny wouldn't be coming because I'm allergic to rabbits, but then I was instructed to take my "sneezing pill" (Zyrtec) by my 3 yr old.

I originally had this idea to post today, but when I realized Easter was coming I found some ribbon and some Easter grass...and I turned it into an Easter project.  I think this project is unique and's a bowl make from an old record.

 Don't you love it? And it's SUPER easy.  

All you need is:
an old vinyl record
an empty aluminum can
cookie sheet
hot pad (mitts are easiest)
For Easter Basket: 1 yard of 2 inch wired ribbon and easter grass.

I bought my records at an antique store and they were $1 each. I'm sure you can find some at the thrift stores for even cheaper.

Set your oven to 200 degrees. And place your record on top of the can on top of the cookie sheet. And place in the oven for 4-5 minutes.

In the picture I have placed a small oven safe bowl on top of the can and the record on top, but subsequently I have done it with just the record on the can and it works just as well and is easier.

You will notice that at about 4 minutes the record will start to droop and melt. Wait till the record has melted so the sides are completely droopy.

Take your pan out of the oven and with a hot pad or oven mitts, take the bowl off the can and shape it to your liking.  It cools quickly, so work fast. However, if you mess up, just put it back in the oven for a few more minutes.

Or if you don't want to free form it yourself, you can put it in a wide bowl to guide you.

Now you can fill it with fruit, or candy or jewelry (like my daughter did).

Or you can turn it into an easter basket by taking 2 inch ribbon with wire inside and with ends together poke it through the hole in the middle of the record at the bottom of the bowl and knot it.

The ribbon then wraps around the bowl and becomes the handle. Fill it with grass and candy and presents.

It took me longer to look for our plastic eggs to put in the bowl than it did to make the Easter Basket. I never did find those eggs. What you see in there is a raw egg and some random things I found around the house. I wasn't kidding when I said I wasn't prepared for Easter...I mean...I still have Halloween candy in my house. Nothing says Easter like a gummy eyeball.

Monday, March 29, 2010

EGG-cellent Easter Fun

Have you been wanting to do something EGG-xtra fun this Easter season? Take a peek into our Family Night. The kiddos had an EGG-tremely good time!

It started with dinner:

We made personal pizzas in the shape of EGGs. Everyone got to decorate their own EGG pizza. You could even be creative with a boring old cheese pizza by using different types of cheese.

After dinner, we started our EGG-lympics.

FIND: Someone leaves the room. The rest of the group decides on the perfect spot to hide the special egg (we chose this bunny egg). We then invited the "it" person back into the room. We sang songs from church to help them find the egg. If they weren't close, we sang softly. When they got closer, we sang loudly. Once they found the egg, we played again until each child had a turn.

CRACK: Fill a basket full of plastic Easter eggs. Put a small rock in each egg, but place one candy in one egg. Grab your timer. Each person takes a turn cracking the eggs to find the one that has the candy. When they find the candy, stop their time. (You will have to put the eggs back together each time with a new piece of candy). The person who can do this in the shortest amount of time wins this game.

WALK: Choose enough spoons and
eggs for each child that is playing.

Decide a start line and finish line or set up a course for them to walk.

The goal is to be the first one to the finish line without
dropping your egg.

ROLL: Use tape to make a start line and a box
the finish line on the floor. Each child takes a turn waving the book back and forth to make the egg move from the start line to the square. Use a timer to find out who can do this in the quickest time.

EAT: Put 3 pieces of candy in each egg. Give one egg to each child. At the same time, open up the egg and begin eating the candy. The first candy has to be unwrapped and eaten (and swallowed) before you can begin to unwrap the next candy. The first person to eat all 3 pieces of candy wins!

Now go have an EGG-xtra good time
with some little ones!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

If I only had a hooded towel as a child, I might not need therapy!

How did my mom know I was thinking of hitting my little brother? How did she know that I wasn't asleep yet even though my eyes were closed? How did she know that I shoved stuff under my bed when it was time to clean my room? How did she know that I shoplifted lip gloss from Sears at age 6 (this story will be on another post)?

My mom had a gift, a super-natural power. And the best part of it's hereditary. Now, I HAVE THE POWER (said like He-Man from the cartoon...and if you don't get this pop culture reference you are probably too young and I am jealous of your youth...or I guess you could be too old and then I would be envious of your wisdom...or you could have grown up with no TV like my husband and then I'm neither jealous nor envious).

Now that I possess this secret power, I realize that at times it has it's flaws...sometimes, the super hero is just plain wrong.

Case #1 - I've reached in the caverns of my memory to a time when I was the powerless child. I was told to go take a shower, but not to wash my hair because it was bed time.  Well, the only way I knew how to take a shower without getting my hair wet was to kind of dance with the shower. Back facing away from the stream of water, wet the wash cloth and lather with soap. Then wipe down your body and here's where the dancing comes in. You put your left arm in, you put your left arm out, you put your leg in and you shake it all get it right? It was a quick shower. As I emerged wrapped in a towel, my mom stops me down the hall and says, "I told you to take a shower." "I did," I replied. Activate Mommy Powers! "No you didn't. You couldn't have taken a shower that fast." "But, I did," I insisted. My mother ran her finger down my back, "Your back is bone dry. You did not shower. I don't want to hear any arguing. Go take a shower." Do you think this injustice affected me? I remember the story, don't I? Now, as a mom with the secret power, I can see why she would have thought I was lying, but this proves my point...the power is flawed.

Case #2 - Fast forward...I'm the mom.  I send my 7 year old to bed. She doesn't like to go to bed and it's always a struggle. This time, she dilly dallied long enough and I sternly send her to bed. Soon I hear whispering. Activate Mommy Powers! She's not talking to anyone (her brother and sister are asleep), she must be reading (she likes to read outloud). I get up and quietly check up on her and she's sitting up under her covers. Well, I have the element of surprise on my I sneak up to pull her covers off of her and give her a good earful. I pull off the covers only to see her kneeling down in her bed and just in time to hear her say, "In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." She was praying. I felt like a horrible mother. I wanted to trade in my powers for a hole to crawl into.

So mothers, be aware that our gift can sometimes be faulty.

And in honor of my shower episode, today's idea is a hooded bath towel. You can make these in all different sizes. (If I had a hooded towel, my mother wouldn't have been able to run her finger down my back perhaps allowing me to explain what happened.)

I make them a lot in baby/toddler sizes for gifts. They are inexpensive and easy to make. The only downside is you need to have a sewing machine...which means sewing is required.

You will need a bath towel
a hand towel (same color as the bath towel)
about 2.5 yards of 1.5 inch wide ribbon (depends on how wide the towels are)
thread to match the ribbon
sewing machine
pins (to make the sewing easier)

Open the towel. Very often they have a decorative strip on the towels.  
That's exactly where the ribbon goes.
Fold the ribbon a little around the edges so about 1 inch overlaps on the other side.

Sew the ribbon to the towel as close to the edge as possible.

See the ribbon folded over to the other side?
Do that on both ends of the towel. Remember to keep the ribbon band on the same side of the towel.
Then do the same thing to the hand towel. With the hand towel, you are actually going to cut it in half if you want a smaller toddler hood. You can use the whole hand towel if you are doing a bigger size.
My sample is a smaller one, so here I've cut it in half. This is two hoods, so I ended up making two towels.

Then with pins, attach the bottom part of the cut hand towel (not the frayed edge) to the middle of the big towel. If you are using a whole hand towel, attach the widest part of the hand towel to the middle of the big towel.

Then sew it in place. I sew it on this side and the underside for extra strength.

Then on the frayed edges of the hand towel, place wrong sides together and sew it together. If you are using the whole hand towel, just put wrong sides together and sew the edges together.

Now, I'm not too fond of the hood being so I sew a flat edge into the hood part. See below.

Turn everything right side out and there you have it.

You can do any variation on this. I've done the ribbon on the hood to go around the head. I've seen people put on appliques. If you are really fancy, you can embroider names into the towels. 
I guess you can turn a towel into your own super hero cape!

Be creative! But remember to use your powers for good!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dismal-land or The Happiest Place on Earth...a family divided.

So, we did it. We've been living in So. California for almost three years now and we cleverly have gotten out of taking our family to Disneyland.  But the baby (almost 4) has been bugging and bugging and asking and asking us to take her to the magic kingdom. Now if any of you know my husband, he'd rather get his eyebrows tweezed and go shopping with me than go to Disneyland. Now I know there are men who wouldn't mind doing those my friend Debbie's husband (who just confirmed that he loves all those things), but mine does you know where Disneyland ranks with him.

Now, in defense of him, his first experience with Disneyland was when we went the day after Thanksgiving one year when we were "dating." Actually, we were "not dating" at the time but decided to go anyway. We got a flat tire on the way, and then the parking structure was too full, so we had to park in the overflow. He wasn't used to the large group of Japanese tourists at the theme parks...and their tendency to push in line. (I, having lived in Hawaii and being of Japanese decent, didn't seem to be as bothered as him, but it didn't make it a great day for him.)

Now in defense of Disneyland, it was in line for the Haunted House that we had an open and frank conversation and worked out all the "kinks" and we were dating again...and were engaged soon after. Yep, true story...the Haunted House. Maybe that's why he wanted to get married on Halloween or a Friday the 13th.  (We were married on a Friday the 13th in case you were wondering).

We had taken our other two children to Disneyland once before and spent a lot of time tracking down princesses and Buzz Lightyear, but we thought we'd give it another try.

We didn't tell the kids. We went to the school and pulled them out and told them that we were going on a surprise trip.  When we got to the Disneyland area (signs all over) we asked the kids if they knew where we were going. They started to say Disneyland, but stopped because they didn't think it was really happening. Kinda' cute and sad at the same time, huh?

When we were there, my kids wanted their faces painted. Do you know how much it costs? To be honest with you, I don't know because I didn't even ask because I knew it would be TOO MUCH! I promised them we could paint faces the next day and I would paint whatever they wanted. Turns out, we didn't have enough time to bust out the paints, but we painted their faces a couple of months ago and they love it!!!

Now, I'm not that great of an artist...but we had left over makeup from Halloween and I purchased some face paints from Walmart.  As you can see below, I'm not that talented, but the kids had a blast and I saved a lot of money.

 I loved this one. The kids thought this was great because you can make the fish talk and sing. I painted the gold fish on first, then the blue. Then I used a stiff brush to brush on the black.  The fish lips were red, too...but by the time I got my camera out...they were gone.  I did another gold fish on his other cheek and when you looked at him face on, it looked like the fish were kissing.

Hearts are so easy and they definitely make girls happy. The picture isn't that clear, but I put white dot accents around the hearts and then just decorated with swirls and glitter. You can make anything cute with glitter (just not too close to the eye).

She wanted flowers and a she got both. I find it easier to lay down the color and use the white to create the picture. Again, some dots and swirls to make it cute.  

I used one of those brushes that comes with water color paints, but I have since bought cheap painting brushes...they give me more control.

Here are some other designs I found online that would be easy to paint. These would be great for a birthday party, a school or church fundraiser or just for some Saturday fun.

EPILOGUE: I'd like to say Disneyland was a success, but at first it wasn't. My husband wasn't the problem, it was the 3 year old. When we got there, it was more crowded than we thought, so we hit the first rides that had the shortest lines which happened to be the Haunted House, Pirates of the Caribean and Winnie the Pooh.  After those the baby says, "I NEVER WANT TO COME TO DISNEYLAND EVER AGAIN." Turns out she doesn't like "dark" rides or "scary" rides.  I took her over to fantasy land, we rode the Merry-Go-Round, the Teacups, Dumbo and saw some princesses and she loved Disneyland again. In fact, this morning, she asked "How many hours till we go to Disneyland?"

Momma didn't save THAT much money.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chicago. I went, I saw, I ate!

Sorry for not posting forever. I'm actually blogging from my hotel in Chicago. I'm here for a work trip and I had every intention of posting sooner, but I've been busy. Let's see. I worked a lot (and everything went smoothly). I've eaten Italian, French, Thai, Japanese, American meals which included a lot of fish choices...Yummy!! I purchased 3 purses, 2 pairs of boots, 5 tops, 1 scarf, a wooden box, surprises for the kids and of course, some new make up. I crocheted 3 baby hats and 2 flowers and I watched the river being dyed green for St. Patrick's Day. I had breakfast with a friend I hadn't seen for 14 years, and dinner with one of my best friends from high school and her new baby! And I've managed to sleep a little between all that.

I even brought my glue gun just in case I got the urge to whip something up. And to be honest with you, it kind of made me nervous. I could just imagine getting put in the TSA watch list for packin' heat...a glue gun! I was already afraid of those new body scanning machines, you know the ones that show images of us underneath our clothes. I was picturing the embarrassment of standing in one of those things and the worker saying, "YIKES, turn off the machine....let her go...NOW!" And what exactly does one's body look like under spanx?

When I got to Chicago and realized I would be living in my hotel for a week, I figured my idea for this post would be things that could be done in a hotel room. So, this is what I came up with.

You may not see it now, but there are three great ideas for hotel rooms.  

1.  Remote in a ziploc bag.  You probably didn't have to watch the Nightline that investigated the germs and other gross stuff in hotel rooms, but I saw part of it and the part I saw was about the TV remotes. It was so yucky, I almost stopped watching TV all together. To spare you the details, let's just put it this way, everyone touches the remote...and not everyone washes their hands. And I'm pretty sure Housekeeping doesn't clean remotes. So, when I get to the hotel room, I use a tissue to get the remote into the ziploc bag and BOOM! one less thing to worry about.

2.  Spa facial...kinda.  This last week, we worked so hard that I was trying to find something spa-esque to treat myself in my room.  Now, I didn't actually have enough money to get a real spa treatment, so this is what I have. A coffee maker and some wash clothes. I don't drink coffee, so I don't know the ins and outs of coffee makers, but this one boiled the water and it dropped into my mug.  After I washed my face, I took the hot water and poured some on a damp wash cloth that was rolled up. Then I squeezed the hot water out of the wash cloth (BE CAREFUL, IT'S HOT) and I unrolled the cloth, fanned it in the air twice and then layed on the bed with the warm/hot towel over my face. It felt so good! And then I applied my moisturizer and my face felt oh, so soft.

NOTE: I did this hot cloth treatment to my feet on my last night in Chicago. I had spent days and days on my feet and this felt so nice. I used the extra hand towels and wrapped my feet.  Then I applied the hotel lotion to my feet generously!

3. Eye Treatment. Just in case you partied too hard the night before and your eyes are puffy or you have dark circles...never fear, tea bags are here. There's something in black tea (the caffeine or the tannins) that reduces puffiness and dark circles from your eyes, while tightening around the eye area. And for those of you who drink also have your cup of tea. So, make two cups of tea. After about 5-8 minutes of steeping, take out your tea bags, let them cool a bit, then squeeze out the water. Then lay these slightly damp tea bags over your eyes for about 10-15 minutes. Don't open your eyes while you have the bags over them. Tea in the eye is not very fun...I know.

So there you have your ideas for this week. If you have any ideas to share about Hotel Living, leave them in the comments area. I'd love to hear what you come up with. I thought about gluing all the pages of the bible in the room together and then cutting out the middle to store my jewelry...but I thought they'd frown upon that....and I didn't have any rubber cement.

Monday, March 8, 2010

When I was your age...

Colon end parenthesis.  I'm about to age myself here....but in high school, those were just punctuation marks that I hardly used. In my 6th grade typing class - yes, typing class...with keyboarding class, not even word processing; where you had to pick up your left arm and crank the register back into place...which, coincidentally, was the same time I worshiped the dual purpose "White Out" because  1. I didn't want to have to type a whole page over because of one little mistake and 2. if I was bored in class I could give myself a french manicure.  Anyway, back to the colon and end parentheis - these were two characters that I didn't have to type very much, but if I did, I almost gave my hand a cramp trying to type the :)

And as you can see, today it's just a happy face.

It blows my mind that my children have no concept of pay phones.  Remember carrying around 10 or 25 cents (weird but calls worth a quarter make me feel younger)...or better yet making a fake collect call home...."I'd like to make a collect call. My first name is Pickmeup. My last name is Taco-Bell. Uh, last name is hyphenated, it was an unfortunate marriage."

They have no concept of dials on the televisions - can you imagine the workout channel surfing could actually be if you had to get up all the time to change a channel, turn down the volume, or turn it off.  They have never experience the muscle burn of rolling down/up your own window or don't know what what the big deal was having a real recording of yourself at Missy Cohen's Bat-Mitzvah (just plain 'ole Karaoke now). 

They can't fathom a world without email, or a world with only 5 TV stations, or the restraining limit of only 12-24 exposures on a camera. They don't understand the thrill of Pong, or the value of a googly-eyed, puffy, scratch'n'sniff sticker.

Their world is filled with high speed internet, apps for everything, automatic doors, automatic windows, dishwashers and ice makers.

I love that my 7 years asked me sincerely and earnestly, "Mom, when did your mom give you a cell phone." I said, "My mom didn't give me a phone, I bought my own..." Her face looked hopeful, until I delivered the punchline, "...when I was 23." She didn't find that funny. Her answered was, "I'm not kidding mom, when did you really get your first cell phone?"  And then the joke was on me....I'm old!

But, no matter the are kids and kids love to do projects or crafts with their parents.  The other night, as a prize for having the whole house clean before I got home from work, we decided to make SILLY SLIME. Kid crafts really are a prize in my house. Not to often do I let them be a part of every step of the project, but this one was fun and easy and even Daddy joined in.


one part liquid starch 
two parts white glue
food coloring
I bought liquid starch at Walmart for about $2 or so. I also stirred things up in some leftover kid cups from a restaurant. I made 4 batches of slime using 2 tablespoons of glue and I used up about half the bottle.  I still have a lot of starch leftover, so if anyone who lives by me wants to have me!

So, first the kids mixed the 2 TBS of glue with 1 drop of food coloring.

Then they measured out 1 TBS of liquid starch.  We first did this in cups, but later on, we found a better way. I'll show you at the end.

And then we slowly poured the glue into the starch.  It's best if it's thin strings of glue.  You want the glue to absorb the starch (the starch makes the glue not sticky).

Let it sit for a minimum of 5 minutes.  
Believe it or not, this was the hardest part for the kids.  
They were so anxious.

Then pull out the squishy blob and start working it. 

If it is really sticky and it doesn't start to harden, add a little liquid starch to your slime and work it in.


Work it till it's not sticky like the blue one below. 
(We forgot to take a picture of the pink when it was ready)

We realized that the more surface area the glue had to the starch, the faster this process went, so we tried the plate method and it worked great.
Less waiting was great for the kids.

You can also buy glow in the dark solution that you can add to this to make it even more cool. The kids stored their slime in an easter egg and they had fun "making toots." 
My daughter said, "Mom, you are so fun!" I hope she remembers that when she asks for a cell phone and I say, NO!