Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Roller Coaster of Playtime

In college one of the tasks, we were asked to complete was to write our observations a set of kids as they played.  What stood out most to the rollercoaster of how the kids played together.  There are clear highs when everything is going perfect followed by lows of pure chaos.  Seeing my own kids try to play together is no different than what I observed that day sitting on the playground during my observation.  


Bear asked me if he could have a picnic with Eve once she woke up.  I agreed and I helped him set it up as he wanted.  The fact that he wanted to play and interact with Eve is something I want to foster.  We pulled everything and set it all up. 

Eve woke up and was not in the mood to play with Bear.  He tried “sweeten the deal” so speak by bringing it his paw patrol dogs letting her play with Marshall. 


At first, he couldn’t figure out how all four of them could sit at one table with only two chairs.  Not wanting this start out poorly I jumped in and set up a diaper box bend for the pups. 

Bear happily headed out food and drinks to everyone while chatting about who knows what.  Eve played along with it thinking the puppy next to her was just the coolest thing ever. 

Then the first drop came and Eve didn’t want to sit down at the table anymore.  She wanted to run around the room.  Having just woken up from a nap she was full of energy and some needed to be released.  Knowing Eve, after a few laps she would likely sit back down and continue playing.

Bear was not amused.  When Eve grabbed for Chase on one of her laps around the room he lost it.  He yelled at Eve and she threw her self on the ground in a very dramatic fashion. 

Bear held out that it would still work out so he reset the pups back up on their bench while he waited for Eve to get over her fit.  Shortly after she sat back down and all was well for a brief moment. 

That is until Bear had something she wanted.  Another fit this time with lots of tears included!  No one was amused by her antics.  Who knew girls were this dramatic?

His last hope of keeping his plan together meant getting Eve’s dog or of her crib.  Normally it lives in the crib but he was trying so hard I caved and said he could get it.  Having her own pup turned it all back around.

She sat and played happily.  The pup made all the difference.  I know Bear was trying his best to make her happy and still play.  He ended up getting exactly what he wanted.
Look at his smile
He showed her how to feed her pup while he fed his pups.  They pretended to eat and passed items willingly back and forth.  Lots of giggles and talking making everyone smile.  

All was right with the world for about 15 whole minutes before Eve had another meltdown.  Bear packed it up and went to play in his room.  It was a long hour of highs and lows so I did not blame him for wanting some alone time.  

This was not a particularly good day for Eve.  In fact, because of the timing, I’m shocked it went as well as it did.  Eve does not like waking up. The first hour in the morning and right after nap are the worst for her.  She is grumpy, easily frustrated, and can meltdown at the drop of a hat.  Was it the best time for him to try for a picnic, no not really.  He was just too determined to try that it was worth letting him.  Thankfully he still tries to play with her like this just at better times of the day.

 That rollercoaster of a playtime is one doozy of a ride sometimes! Anyone with kids or around kids knows the highs and lows of playtime.  Something I wish kids grew out of faster than they do. For now, we try again and hope it’s just a little bit better than the time before.  Oh and avoid the times she’s waking up for everyone’s sake!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Melting Crayon Mess

Two weeks ago I was given a box of old crayons from Bears' Preschool to make them into new ones.  I've done this before for them and the results were great!  This set of crayons were mostly the cheap crayons so they came out a bit different.  I did a few trays of single colors with various shaded and they all turned out just fine.  There was a little spillage from me being clumsy so I slowed down for the next batch.  This is when things went from ok to bad.

For starters, I used an old tray and put way too many trays on there.  Look them all squished and overlapping.  This left me with nowhere to pick them up as I couldn't pick the tray up by the handles with oven mitts.  If I tried to get at it from the side the oven mitt would hit the trays and spill hot wax everywhere.  It was a mess.  By the time I got them out they looked like the picture above.

I let the crayons sit there and cool until the tops were no longer liquid.  Then I moved the whole tray to a drying rack to finish cooling.  I knew it was going to be bad.  I could see that the liquid had dripped between the trays, I just wasn't sure how bad.  All those little bits on the tray was attached to the bottom.  Scraping them off wasn't easy.  You can see I needed to do even more. 


I finally got everything out and Bear told me it looked like chocolate.  He isn't wrong.  Using all the brown tones will do that.  The mess on the tray appears as if it started to burn but really it is a black crayon that I had tossed into the mix to fill up one of the wells.  What a mess! I did manage to pull out useable crayons.  The key to getting them to look good was cleaning the trays.  I don't normally clean them between uses but as you can see they were terrible! There is some staining but that is to be expected.


 The next set of trays looked beautiful!  Exactly what I was hoping for.  They were perfectly swirled with lots of variety in colors.  This is why when melting it down goes exactly as planned.  I made a few more trays just like this over the next couple of days.  Clean uncrowded trays really do make the process go smoothly.

Have you tried your hand at remaking your crayons?  What kinds of molds have you used?

Friday, September 21, 2018

5 things I’m Loving Lately

Lately, it's been a few rough weeks in life.  Between everyone in the house getting sick and a lot of mundane day to day things going on I think it is important to take stock in the good.  So here are 5 things I am loving lately.

While the temperatures are cooling off in other parts of the US, South Texas is still in the 90.  I love that we can still go to the pool on the weekends until sometime in November whenever they decide to close it for the season.  Early September most pools close but ours is still open.  Lots of time to left to swim and play!  


It’s never really bad to see how much a find costs in the store.  While my curb find isn’t perfect, it’s validating to know that I can fix it up for a few bucks and not have to spend $95+ for something that works pretty darn well. 
Found at my local Target

I cringe at the mess that is made whenever these two tear up the play area but I love that they are trying to play together.  Bear keeps trying to have tea parties with Eve.  She is enjoying the positive attention from her brother.  It’s never a bad thing when they can get along and play together however brief that may be.


In the hopes of clearing out things we do not use anymore, I posted our stroller that has been taking up space in my trunk.  We have not used this stroller for several months and when we did use it, our umbrella stroller could have done the same thing.  While I love this stroller, it's time to get rid of it.  It's nice to have some more trunk space back!


If you know me in real life you know that I hate to be last minute on anything.  I prep for things well in advance if I can.  Knowing that we have a lot going on over the next few weeks, I took the opportunity to get ahead on some of the Halloween treats that take some time to make.  I'm talking about the Lollipop Ghosts for various Halloween Events.  I don't know if I'll get another chance to complete these so I'm happy to say they just need paint which I can do in small batches all along.  It feels good to have this almost done!

What have you been loving lately?

Thursday, September 20, 2018

A Find From the Curb

I mentioned before that people in our neighborhood would rather put unwanted items on the curb than bother trying to sell it.  It’s a weekly occurrence unless you are within reach of one of the neighborhood yard sales.  Last month I happened to stumble onto one of those situations.  The family was gearing up for a PCS (permanent change of station) and offloaded a bunch of items onto the curb.  The lady allowed me to use her post photo you see below but when I arrived there was far more there.

I happened to be online at the perfect time and saw this listing pops up stating “free on the curb.” Say no more, my shoes were on and I was there within 10minutes of her post.  Had I waited there would have been nothing left or certainly nothing I wanted.  

My entire reason for running out was the white shelf you see in the picture above.  I needed something like that for my craft room and here it was!  When I pulled up, I quickly opened the trunk and put the shelving unit in along with the three drawer storage you see below.  It wasn’t in the original ad but it’s something that I can use to replace the one I have that is long past retirement.  

I figured since I was already there I would pick through it anyway.  Most were household items and or things we didn’t need.  I left those for others that had started showing up.  The last thing I walked away with was a stack of DVDs.  There were at least 100 of them there and so I quickly looked through and picked ones I knew we hadn’t seen or one's Hubby had mentioned he wanted to see again.  

We are not big fans of Superman by any stretch of the imagination but we had talked about watching a few and this gave us the perfect opportunity to do just that.  I’m not looking to make money off of anything here so if we don’t end up watching it in a reasonable time then it will end up back out on the curb for someone else.  This has obviously helped us so we can keep the cycle going. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Instagram vs. Real Life Take 2

Instagram is often used as a highlight reel.  While I think there is nothing wrong with that, I do like to give you all a peek behind the curtain quite often.  I try to keep my feed as real as possible but I also don't think there is anything wrong with taking a picture that has drives home whatever point you are trying to make with it especially when it comes to food pictures.


I posted the picture above a couple of weeks ago on my Instagram.  The purpose was to show the meal I had been prepping for dinner.  It is also a picture that I took for a family cookbook I am putting together.  I thought it looked pretty so I posted it.  Basically, it told the story I wanted it to tell.  I wanted the focus to be on the meal which it was.  That doesn't mean the whole scene needed to be in the pictured.  However, lets exam that anyway.

A lot of people would say that by not showing the picture above I am being "fake" or showing a "highlight reel" on my feed.  I beg to differ.  I am simply framing the point I am trying to make.  Simply by moving the container 2 inches closer to the edge of the counter, the background was essentially hidden from view depending on the camera angle.  Something I clearly took advantage of when taking the picture I posted online.  That doesn't mean there wasn't stuff in the background.  One would obviously assume that I had been cooking and dishes would likely pile up in doing so.  

There were plenty of items on the countertop that I cropped out like Bear's Thomas the Train toy, some mugs, and drink that was defrosting.  Not in view, there was also the garbage bin overflowing that I had just tossed the scraps in.  The sink was also full of dirty dishes from prepping a bunch of food that morning.  Does omitting these items not make it a "real" photo? 

Heck, no!  It was exactly the focus I wanted for the image.  The expanded version of the picture doesn't mean I'm hiding anything.  It doesn't mean that trying to deceive my readers, nor does it mean that I'm painting an unrealistic view of my life.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  It's simply what I wanted to focus on at the time...the pretty, healthy meal that I had been craving for a while now.  Nothing more and nothing less.  The mess would nothing more than draw the focus away from the meal which I did not want.  So before judging someone on their pictures think about the message behind them before assuming that the person is hiding something, especially me.  I think I've proven I'm an open book on social media time and again.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Helping my MIL with a Bridal Shower

I apologize in advance as this is the third time I am writing this same post.  Between the kids messing with my laptop and the faulty app I use, it wasn't pretty.  So now I'm just over it and so this is not what I intended to write but this is what it is.  Such a great start to making you really want to read this post right!?!?  Well at least is short with lots of pictures.

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Way back when my in-laws came to visit, my Mother-in-Law (MIL) asked me and a few other family members to help with a bridal shower for my soon to be sister in law.  I offered up the use of the napkin rings I was given at my bridal shower.  There are very few occasions when these are useful so why not share them when appropriate! She liked the idea and came up with a Denim and Diamonds theme for the party.  After a few phone calls, the plans were set.


I flew to the party with the supplies I needed.  Aside from a small bag search and some funny comments from TSA because they weren't sure what the napkin rings were under the x-ray, it was an easy morning of travel.


My mother in law picked me up from the airport and explained the tasks that needed to be done before the Shower the following day.  She picked up the fabric from the store, cut it up and frayed the ends. They were adorable napkins!

One of the things to know about my Mother in law is that she loves a pretty folded napkin.  She always has her napkins in a fancy display so this party would be no different.  After trying out a few we settled on the one below.


This was how the table looked the night before the party.  What is missing are the flowers in the two vases.  She decorated the white "Bride" vase and the burgundy "Maid of honor" vase.  What a cute concept that I never would have thought of.


This is how they things looked just as we were sitting down to eat.  It was pretty and simple, exactly what my MIL wanted.  The little touches of thing she had all around the house added to the cuteness of the decor.


One of my MIL's sisters and their daughter made the sign for the party.  My MIL then went through and added some "diamonds" to tie it all in.  It was super cute to use a denim print behind the letters.  It's hard to see in the picture but these hints of things that all tied everything together.


My mother in law made my corsage for my virtual baby shower and so I was not surprised she made one for this.  It was a super cute concept.  Some fake flowers and ribbons attached to elastic to go around her wrist.  The to black and yellow pieces sticking out where corn cob holders.


The corn cob holders held on for most of the party.  Around the end, they did start falling off one by one.  Oh well!  It was super cute and served its purpose.

Another cute decor item she did was this watering can that's filled with hologram easter grass spilling out.  She even took the time to add the rhinestones to the water can that hung above the gifts.  And can we just take a second to look at the table in the background with everything nicely set up?  Clearly, everything was thought of.




Continuing on with the little touches of decor all around were the scrabble letters and pictures that tied into the wedding.  Their honeymoon is to St. Lucia so she printed up a picture and framed it.


The ones on the dining room table that said Mr and Mrs with the king and queen of hearts.  The cards played off of the hearts on the napkins and like the rest of the family, the soon to be married couple enjoy playing card games.


Is it really a Bridal Shower without any games?  I don't think so!  Pictionary was the first game we played.  They had so many good phrases and words in the mix.  I was on team two, also known as the winning team. lol.  Seriously though my Brother in laws girlfriend was on fire which helped our team win.


They also had a guess the number of kisses in the jar.  It was whatever you thought and then one extra for the ring on top.  My Brother in laws girlfriend that was on our team for Pictionary also guessed the closest so she won the jar of candy.   We also played a bride or groom guessing game.  There was a list of items like who is better at cooking?  Who is better at cleaning?  All the questions were asked to the couple beforehand so there could be a right or wrong answer.  The winner got a bottle of wine that the couple both really enjoy.     

Please just pause for a moment and take in how pretty the flowers below look in the mixer.  Whoever thought of that is a genius.  I'm sure whoever thought of this was just looking for a way to spruce up the mixed they couldn't move for a party but whatever.  It is So So Pretty!  I need an excuse to display flowers this way in our house for a party of some sorts.

So Pretty!

I've mentioned this before but you always eat well at my inlaws.  Having a party is just an excuse to bring out the good recipes that everyone likes.  This was also my favorite part because hello, delicious food!


I helped prep and make the Hawaiian roll sandwiches.  They are made ahead and bake which is great when you have a party.  This particular recipe was new to me as I have not done anything outside various breakfast ones we have made.  This ham and cheese were perfect because of the seasoning on the outside of the rolls.  My mother in law's deviled eggs is always delicious.

She also had a crudite with ranch and hummus and watermelon on a stick. Jumping back on te details she added the bits of fabric to the handles from the same fabric she made the napkins out of.  Its things like this I find cute.


The MVP of the food was this AMAZING dessert!  To say I could eat every single one of them is an understatement.  They were just that good.  It is hard to tell but it is a layered parfait like dessert.  She shared that she tried this cake but the cheesecake worked better.  To start my MIL made mini cheesecakes in cupcake tins.  They were cut in half and the bottoms placed in the cups.  A mixture of pudding and whip cream was added next along with some fruit.  That was followed by the top of the cheesecake.  Finish it with whipped cream and more fresh fruit for decoration. 


Like all Bridal Showers, we finished up with opening gifts.  During this, we played present bingo.  Everyone gets a blank bingo sheet that they fill out with whatever they think the bride will get.  As the gifts get opened they check off the items on the bingo sheet.  First one with five in a row wins.  I love this because it keeps everyone entertained and splits the focus from what can be super awkward to a more amusing time.  Especially while they close up and repackage gifts.  If you do this watch the guest as some get super excited when playing which is always my favorite part of this game.


Speaking of gifts this is by far the cutest bridal shower gift I have ever seen.  There are four bottles of wine with special labels on each of them.  For example, on a bottle of champagne, there was written: "Drink after your first big purchase" and then a cute paragraph about it.  There was also a bottle of wine for the first fight, first holiday, and first anniversary.

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Yay! This worked finally!  Not what I wanted but I don't have it in me write it again so it is what it is.  Now that the app is updated and my laptop out of the way this shouldn't happen again.  For those of you that stuck with it, you are a rockstar!  Hopefully, this gave you some ideas for a future party... I mean those flowers in the mixer... I love it!  I will need to find an excuse to do that for some party in the future. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Flying Solo!

A couple of weeks ago I took a trip to visit my husbands' side of the family.  My mother in law was hosting a bridal shower for a soon to be sister in law so I flew in for the occasion.  Hubby and the kids were not able to make it so I was flying solo.  Which if you have ever traveled with a child strapped to your lap for a flight is nothing short of a nightmare.  


Since the kids would be at home with hubby, I happily drank a full hot cup of coffee in almost silence but certainly without being bothered while waiting to board my first flight.  I’m not a morning person but I love early morning flights because everyone is usually quiet and there aren’t mass amounts of crowds.  I arrived at the plane just as they started boarding.  Once boarded, I found my seat and settled in for the short flight.



Normally on a plane, I read or write but they had a tv screen in front of me so why not watch a movie.  I wanted to watch Black Panther as I have not yet seen it.  However, if I did not wait to watch it with Hubby there would be hell to pay. 



I settled for watching part of Avengers Infinity War which we had just watched a few days earlier.  Yes, I know we are watching them out of order but that’s not really a big deal to us.   Now that Black Panther is on Netflix, I’m sure we will see it one day soon. 



It was a rather uneventful ride from San Antonio to Dallas which is all you can ever ask for.  I had a short layover so I had to book it for the next flight.  I hate doing that but the only choices I had here a six-hour layover or a thirty-minute layover.  Clearly, I took the risk that I would make it on time. 



Thankfully I did.  Once again I arrived just as they started to board the plane.  On the last leg of my trip, I managed to get some writing done and catch up on some reading.  All while not once being interrupted to wipe a child’s butt or someone pestering me to make popcorn.  It was both productive and relaxing! 



No complaints on the flight.  It was relatively quiet and like I said I got plenty of work done that was backing up.   I believe we even got in a couple of minutes early.  That doesn't happen often for me.




I met up with my Mother in law who was picking me up.  She filled me in on the schedule for the weekend.  She also explained the prep for the Bridal shower that was going to happen the following morning.  Not a lot of things needed to be done that night.  Most items need to be done a short period of time right before the Bridal Shower. 



We spent some time chatting while we worked then finished up before dinner.  My in-laws made dinner that night.  Something simple but delicious I was told.  I always look forward to good food whenever we all get together.  This Thai noodle dish I have had before but it is AMAZING!  I could eat bucket fulls!

The next morning was the shower.  After breakfast, my mother-in-law and I got to cleaning.  There is something about lines in the carpet that screams clean to me but I like it!  When the cleaning was done, I went up to get ready before starting in on the food.



This brings us to a bridal shower.  It was pretty fun but that is a post for a different day!  One I will hopefully write one day soon.  (I will come back and link it whenever it goes up if you are reading late)



After the Bridal Shower, a group of us went over to one of my Brother in Laws house.  We hung out of a bit, chatted with everyone, and had a drink.  Or three.  This Mango beer was pretty good.  I will need to find it near me since it is from Austin.



From there we all went over to a different brother in laws house.  Hubby is one of four boys so lots of brother in laws lol.  This one invited us over for dinner despite being in the middle of getting their kitchen redone.  Since the tile was in, they wanted to have us all over to show it off.  The floors, while not grouted, look fantastic.  I can't wait to see the end result. 



After a few of us came back to my inlaws place.  We played cards, drank and had a good time.  I called it a night relatively early as I needed to be ready to go for a morning flight. 


Not my drink.
One of my Brother in laws was able to drive me to the airport the next morning.  He and his fantastic girlfriend introduced me to Demolition Coffee in Petersburg, VA.  Their stuff was pretty good I must say.  Lots to choose from.  Next time I will have to get something a bit more adventurous than my normal black coffee.  Though that was a good black coffee.



I got to the airport with some time to spare so I grabbed a cold green tea drink and sat down to write a bit.  This would be a long flight back to Dallas on what I was told would be a full flight.  I still planned to use this time as "me time."  



Despite the grandma spilling over into my seat I was able to read a few chapters of my book.  I just started reading the first book from the Canadian West Collection, "When Calls the Heart" by Janette Oke.  I have been watching the tv show but put it on hold until I could read the series.  I'm liking the book very much!


selfie on a plane or it didn't happen, right?

While I waited for my next flight I grabbed some food then spent the next three hours of my layover getting after my to-do list for this blog.  I did more writing on the floor near an outlet.  I started to work on my next 101 goals in 1001 days list (what I call "101 in 1001").  Writing that list is not easy.  If you have done one before, what were your favorite tasks to complete?  Share below please as I am looking for some new ideas.  




That last fight was by far the worst of the bunch.  There was a ton of turbulence and the seats felt the most cramped.  I'm not sure if the rough flight made the space feel smaller or if this just was a smaller plane.  Either way, I'm not a fan of flying when it's like that!   Thankfully, it was a short flight!


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Back at home, Hubby was as also flying solo with both kids.  This is the first time he has both kids on his own and he did AMAZING!  I expected nothing less.  Of course, the kids act differently for him for this short time so he was able to do more than he thought he was while I was away.  


For starters, he worked the pile of mail that we have been ignoring for a while.  He did this during Breakfast of course which was a smart move.  



During naptime Hubby and Bear worked on rearranging the garage so my car could fit.  Storm season is here and San Antonio saw some bad storms in recent years including a hail storm.  We need to protect the good car!  He also power washed the stroller that desperately needed it.  Clearly, this wore out Bear!



After dinner, he was able to deep clean the kitchen.  Something that I had planned on doing when I got home.  So thankful he was able to take this off my plate.  He obviously knows my love language ;)



The next day while I was prepping for the Bridal Shower, Hubby was prepping for back to school.  Bears first day of school was coming up and after a summer of not wearing socks once, we realized he didn't have any!  We planned on just winging it the first day until I had time to run to the store but Hubby went to the store and found socks for Bear.  He didn't have to but I'm so glad he did.  



That evening he managed to rearrange things enough to put the car in.  No, it's not pretty but it is a temporary fix just in case a storm blows through. All the items you see need to be sorted and placed on the shelving Hubby built a couple of months ago or sold.  It sounds simple enough but we need to take the time to do this when the weather breaks.  For now, this gets the job done.



The morning I came home he spent some time with the kids watching a movie.  They loved seeing the Emporers New Groove with him.  The rest of the day was pretty uneventful according to Hubby.  They just relaxed.  After a long weekend of work, I have no doubt this was needed.



They also cleaned up all the toys which I am sure piled up.  I don't care as I wasn't there to see it.  This tends to bother me more than Hubby.  However, it was cleaned up when I got home which is all I really cared about.  I would love to say that my kids set this up but no.  This was all Hubby.  I'm sure Bear mentioned a picnic or something and he just ran with it.  It was a cute surprise for sure.  



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When I landed in San Antonio, I grabbed my bags and headed to see my babies!  I missed my little family quite a bit on this trip.  It was nice to see them again.  All Bear wanted to talk about was how "mama went on a plane!"  It was fun Bear, soon you will get to go on one too.


If you made it this far well bless your brave soul!  Drop me a message below and I will share the love over your page.  Thanks again for stopping by!  

The Roller Coaster of Playtime

In college one of the tasks, we were asked to complete was to write our observations a set of kids as they played.  What stood out most to ...