Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Hair Raising Tale

No, it's not Confession Friday. It's just the kind of day I'm having. :)

It's the last day of September. What in the world happened to September?? And why do I have the feeling that I'm going to be asking that question for the rest of my life? Haha. So it occurred to me about halfway through preparing this blogpost that I had a total dud on my hands. A sizzling stinker. A big fat floundering flopper. I had plans to show you the way that I color my hair at home. Doesn't that sound totally interesting? 

I knew from the get-go that this was going to be borderline ridiculous to say the least. I fully anticipated writing a self-depricating post for all of us mamas on a budget who have to settle on the little luxuries in life sometimes. And I was fully willing to make a total idiot out of myself if it would help someone else out.

But have you ever tried taking pictures of yourself with your hands full of hair color? Or with tin foil wrapped around a comb while you're balancing a hair brush and little clippies and trying to beat the clock because your kid is asleep and if she wakes up anytime soon you'll then have goopy hands and half of your hair colored and a camera teetering on the edge of the sink and a REALLY. BIG. STINKIN. MESS? (Deep breath, Adrien.) Yeah, so, it was a terrible idea. 

Do you wanna see some pictures? :)

First of all, I learned that it's humanly impossible to take a photo of the top of your own head.

Shall we try a fourth time?

Ay, yi, yi. Apparently I was born with arms several inches too short for this task. If you paste all of the pictures together, you might get a shot of my entire head! I knew right off the bat that this was an ominous sign, but something in my brain told me to keep pressing forward. 

I mixed up my color and slapped on my gloves. I grabbed my comb and sectioned my hair. And then I realized that there was going to be no way possible for me to show you how I apply my color, because there was no way possible for me to color my hair and take a picture of it at the same time. But I am my father's child, and so instead of just throwing in the towel and doing things the right way...I stubbornly decided to try the one-handed approach.


"Um, Adrien, honey, we can't see..."

", no, you don't understand...."

Hahaha, I just realized that this picture is completely upside down, and I have no clue how that could have even happened. Let's just say that it's easy to laugh about it now, but at the time I had a sore arm, running hair color, and I was probably mumbling some not so nice things under my "gosh darn it!" :)

And would you believe Evelyn decided to wake up right at this moment? Nap time has become an anomaly around here, lately. So now I have a child hanging around my ankles, and I'm getting flashes forward of what my hair is going to look like when this is all said and done. I finally decided to just give up on taking any pictures and to hurry and finish the job. I was totally over it. 

And this is what happens when you hurry through a coloring job. Let's just skip the "which icebox leftover are you?" references and go straight for the "how many stations do you get on that thing?" Oh my. I was terrified of what this mess was going to wash out to be. 

Ordinarily I just say, "Eh, hair is hair." I don't usually get too bent out of shape over things like that. But knowing that I could go into labor at any second...without time to rectify the situation...and that I would be in pictures that I would look at for the rest of my life...well, let's just say I got more and more nervous with each passing minute that this junk was on my head. 

Luckily, it didn't turn out so bad. Just a couple of little splotches here and there. :) But I didn't end up looking like a total skunk head, so that's good. Oh yes, I guess I should show you. What how-to (or how not-to!) would be complete without the final product?

Whew! Dodged a bullet, I think. So what is the point of this whole post? Well, I guess I don't really know. If you've read this far, I'm terribly sorry for wasting a few minutes of your time, haha. I know that I definitely learned through this whole experience that there are some things that God just didn't intend for us to share. Certain things just need to be done in the privacy of our own homes where no one else is subjected to our ridiculousness. He taught me that today, and I'm going to carry that lesson with me for as long as I live. 

So the next time I get a crazy idea like "How to change a diaper," or "How to clip your toenails," I will confidently and quickly say, "Er...I think I'll Pass." 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Scavenger Hunt in a Bottle!

I am a sucker for those old "I Spy" picture books. You know the ones, right? I have always found them fascinating, and now that I'm an adult I realize that whoever created those things is an absolute genius. I mean, seriously. They found a way to make big bucks off of arranging and photographing junk and knick knacks. I would love to have that job! Don't get me wrong, I'm not taking away from what they do. It's the way that they are able to set a scene that totally sucks me in, and certainly not everyone could do that. It takes a really special kind of talent to be a...junk arranger.  :)

But as much as I would love the job, I'm not so sure that I posses that really special kind of talent myself. I can, however, throw a bunch of odds and ends into a bottle and shake them up! Woot! And that's about all you need to know to make a fun little game for your kids - a scavenger hunt in a bottle!

I have seen similar things being sold on Etsy which I thought were really cute and a great idea. Most of the crafty mamas on that site make their games out of bean bags and fancy beads. But I'm on a budget, and I think a good 'ole plastic bottle works just as well. The idea is that you gather, oh, about ten small items that you can slip inside of a rice-filled bottle, which become like hidden treasures for seeking little eyes to find. There are ways to make the game more or less challenging, but we'll get to that later. First, let's see how to assemble one of these scavenger hunt games ourselves!

The supplies you will need are:
One clear plastic bottle (I used a water bottle.)
One bag of rice (I only had brown, but I bet white rice would work even better!)
White vinegar
Food coloring
Measuring Cup
Ziptop bags
Several paper plates (Or newspaper)
Hot Glue

First things first: you'll want to empty your bottle and rinse it out if need be so that it can be nice and dry when you're ready to fill it up. I turned mine upside down on a paper towel while it dried. 

The next step is to color your rice, if you so choose. I think you should. :) It's much cuter that way! I found my instructions for coloring rice HERE. Unfortunately, I didn't reread the instructions before I started, so I don't think my colored rice turned out as good as it could have. But you can learn from my mistakes!

The instructions call for mixing each color with 1/4 cup of white vinegar. I found this to be too much liquid, and used slightly less than that. Drop as much food coloring as you like into the vinegar to reach your desired colors. I used a little more coloring than the instructions called for.

Divide your supply of rice by how many colors you would like to use. I used four colors for my scavenger hunt, so I divided my rice into fourths. Add your first food color mixture into your divided bag of rice.

Shake it up until all of your rice is coated. Then let it sit for about five minutes. You can move on to the next color while these are sitting. This is where I messed up. I totally forgot the step about letting it sit before taking it out of the bag. My colors probably didn't turn out as vibrantly as they could have been because of this missed step. So hopefully you'll get even better results than me!

Once your rice is set, pour it out onto paper plates (or newspaper) and let it dry. This part is going to take a while. (Thirty minutes my foot!) Periodically I went by and raked through the rice with a fork to make sure all of the sides were being upturned in the *hopes* that it would speed up the process a bit. It's probably best to just let it set overnight. I let mine sit out all day (about nine hours) and it was still a teeny tiny bit wet when I added it into my bottle.

While your rice is drying, this is a perfect time to do a little scavenger hunting yourself! Look around your house for little trinkets that you can put inside of your bottle. Make sure that the various items can fit through the top! I used a red marble, a monopoly hotel, foam letters "E" and "G" (betcha can't guess what those stand for, haha), a q-tip, a ticket, a penny, a screw, and a foam flower. I looked all over the darn house for a pair of dice, but I just couldn't find any. (And I know they exist here somewhere. So frustrating!)

If you have older children, you can make a label that has all of the items inside of the bottle listed so that they can have fun looking for the specific things. My daughter can't read, so I chose not to make a tag. (She would just rip it off and eat it, anyway!) For the really little ones, I think they'll just be happy to have a bottle of rice to shake around. :) Evelyn likes to pretend to drink hers...go figure. Haha.

When you're ready to fill your bottle, I recommend using or making a funnel for the rice. I used a rolled up piece of cardstock. Put in a layer of rice, add a couple of trinkets, more rice, more trinkets, etc. until all of your items are in the bottle. Then do a little shake up! The more rice that is in the bottle, the harder it will be to find the items. Make sure you leave at least a little space at the top so that the rice can move around freely, revealing the little surprises inside. 

Last, add the cap! Hot gluing it on might not be such a bad idea. I don't have a hot glue gun, so I used regular glue. Lucky for me, Evelyn doesn't yet know how to unscrew a cap anyway, but I definitely wouldn't give this to an older child without having the cap securely stuck!

Well, what do you know? I spy a ticket! 

Evelyn likes her new toy!
While this homemade game may seem like it's only for children, word on the street is that it's quickly becoming a fun icebreaker to play at adult parties. You can make the game even more challenging by using a larger bottle with more items to find. Try a 2-liter! The game can be played as a timed challenge, or you can make two identical bottles and challenge a friend to be the first to find a specific item. 

This game is also becoming popular to add on tables at showers and weddings for waiting guests to enjoy. They can be "dressed up" by using glass bottles with corks and fancy labels. And of course, the bottles can be filled with much classier things than plain old rice...beads or pearls would make for more adult fillers. The items to find can also be themed. Just use your imagination!

Let me know if you make one of these yourself! It was an easy little project to do. The hardest part was probably the waiting. Don't you just love when you see something and say, "Hey, I can do that!" :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Beautiful Days and Bubble Tents

Has the sight of a kid on a swing ever made you tear up? Um...*raises hand.* I know, I know! But I'm pregnant. And she was giddy and giggling and throwing her head back was a really great day. :)

It all started when I woke up Monday morning and realized "Holy cow. Any day now I could be a mother of two." And it kind of freaked me out a little bit. I am so excited for Gracie to get here, but I know my days are numbered as the mother of a singleton. In approximately two weeks, maybe more or maybe less, I'm simply not going to have as much one on one time with Evelyn anymore. So I immediately decided a mother-daughter day was in order!

We ate breakfast and watched Sesame Street like it was any other day, and then I got to work. I hurriedly threw in a load of laundry and dishes and began assembling a picnic lunch. My plan was to spend the morning at the park with my girl, come home for a nap, and then it would be time for a special surprise that I had waited all summer for to share with Evelyn!

 Grapes, cheese and crackers, and vanilla pudding. It was a snacky sort of lunch, haha; one that neither of us would eat much of. I'm pretty sure we lived off of grapes all day. Evelyn wouldn't touch the crackers once she saw the fruit. And though she resembles her father in many ways, she does NOT share Eric's love for pudding. Duly noted. 

We loaded up and were on our way! I must say that I was pretty proud of myself. I lugged around my daughter, a picnic basket loaded with all of our gear, and a full term pregnant stomach like a pro. I'm starting to get the hang of this whole once you're a mother your life resembles a juggling act thing. 

We always head for the swings first...probably because it's the only age appropriate thing for her in the whole park, haha. I certainly cannot do slides at the moment. Oh, geez...could you imagine? But today it struck me how big Evelyn looked as she was swinging back and forth. Maybe I was just being sentimental, but I don't know...take a look at her in this same spot this past April. 

What a difference one summer makes!

After the swings, Evelyn had me running all over the place. I'm not exaggerating. We covered every square inch of that park. And the entire time I was thinking, "Please get out all of your energy!" She did, too! For the first time in nearly a week I had no problems whatsoever getting her to lay down for a nap. Thank you, Jesus. 

We did eventually stop for a sidewalk chalk break. I wish I could show you every single picture from our day. Check my facebook page, I'm sure they'll all end up there. :) But this was by far my favorite shot of the morning...

*I. love. her.*

We ate our "lunch," and Evelyn started filling her diaper. BIG TIME. Haha. That was my cue that it was time to go home. Check her out, the amazing grape eating machine. She decided that eating grapes straight off of the stem is much easier than taking the time to pull them off. Silly girl!

So we packed it all in and headed home for nap time. As Evelyn slept I was getting more and more excited for her special surprise. All summer long I had thought about showing Evelyn the joy of my childhood: the bubble tent. But I never thought she was ready. She was just too little. But this day, why, this day would be the perfect day to share such a special thing with her.

For those who don't know, the bubble tent is a lovely little invention that involves taking a box fan and a bed sheet and creating a do-it-yourself dome of fun and imagination. Haha. Every time we got together, my cousins and I would spend hours making these darn "tents" all around my grandma's house. We could get some MONSTER tents going...I'm talking multiple fans and several sheets worth of tent. Uhmazing. But I thought we'd keep it simple for Evelyn's first trial run.

To build a bubble tent of your own, you only need a few things:
A box fan, an old bed sheet, and 6-8 heavy shoes (books work, too!)

Cover the top of the fan with one end of the sheet, and then spread the sheet out on the floor in front of the fan. Then, line the perimeter of the sheet with your weights, leaving a space on one side that you and your friends (I mean kids!) can crawl through. I also use a couple of the weights to hold down the sheet on the top of the fan. It should look something like this:
(Minus my kid, of course!)

 Power up the fan, and wala! 
Hours of cheap fun and enjoyment.

So there I was daydreaming about grabbing pillows and books and spending the rest of the afternoon chillin' in the tent with my girl. When she woke up from her nap, I was so excited! I gathered all of the supplies I would need, and I tested the fan...and then I knew I was in trouble. Big trouble. Evelyn's reaction to the whirring box fan was about as bad as when I get out the big bad vacuum cleaner. She was terrified. Absolutely, positively

I tried to tell her how great it was inside. "Just take a peek," I said. 
"Oooh, doesn't this look like fun?"

Well, the poor thing did eventually follow me into the tent; unfortunately, this was the expression I got from her the entire time. 

And this:
And this:
Notice she is as far away from the fan as humanly possible, haha.

Well, I wasn't about to torture my daughter anymore. She was a good sport (I can't believe I even got her to crawl inside.) But alas, the bubble tent will have to wait for another day. The day when scary machines don't threaten to eat her little toesies or whatever the heck she's afraid they're going to do!

Hopefully if you ever try this out with your kiddos you'll have much better luck than me! Just remember the littles need adult supervision...otherwise they'll be sticking their fingers in fan blades or pulling bedsheets on top of themselves. (I promise this is meant to be good, clean fun, haha. Bubble tents are NOT intended to send children to the emergency room!) 

Even with this slight set back I would have to say that this was an awesome day! Daddy came home from work, and we had Evie's favorite thing for dinner: pizza! We followed it up with a family walk in the crisp Fall air. Perfection, I tell you. 

I still get a little emotional thinking about my Evie girl in the swing...and knowing it may be the last time we're able to get out with just the two of us for a while. (Who knows, maybe we'll do this again sometime this week!) But I know there are lots of fun days ahead! I can't even imagine how great it's going to be for our entire family to welcome Gracie into our little world. For now, I'll always have the memories of another fun day chasing after Evelyn. Just another day in paradise. :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Taking the day off!

***First of all, a reminder that tomorrow is the last day to let me know if you'd like to come out next Sunday for some FREE family photos. (You don't have to have kids at home to participate... couples, singles, pets, everyone is invited!) If you don't know what in the world I'm talking about, click HERE***

Do you want to know something that makes me really happy? 
Awe. Some. 

We have BIG PLANS this weekend, and it's looking like the weather will be just heavenly. Eee! I'm so excited. But first, we have to get through this week. I'm not gonna lie to you guys...I've got nothin' for ya. Haha. I spent a really lovely lazy Sunday at church and with my family, and the blog sort of got put on the back burner.  

Whew. Do you know how hard it is to accept that? For nearly a month now I've been typing my little fingers away To just let it go for a day feels like...I don't I didn't do a term paper and I'm being called out in front of the whole class. But never you fear, I have plans for this week! So many that I'm not quite sure what to do first! 

So if you haven't already, today would be a wonderful day to peruse around the site...maybe catch up on a blog or two you may have missed, and get ready for something new! I feel the need to periodically thank everyone who continues to read this little project of mine. It truly has become a wonderful outlet for me to do the one thing I enjoy most. It almost feels like I'm putting my degree to use, haha. 

I'm thinking this little girl needs some serious mommy attention today. There aren't going to be many more days of just us TWO girls. *Sigh* 

And who knows, I may end up putting up something new this afternoon and deleting this post altogether, haha. I never know when an idea will hit, and my trigger happy fingers sometimes want to hit "publish" early. :) No promises...but we'll see. In the meantime, if you have any questions for me, let me know! Something you're just dying to know? Something you'd like to see me blog about? You can even comment or ask anonymously if you want. I promise, I'll answer truthfully no matter what. But this promise is only valid for the next 12 hours or so, so you better ask fast! ;)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Evelyn Blogs ;)

WARNING: Cheese alert! Hehe. But she insisted. 

Hi guys, it's Evie, guest blogging for my mom. She's been writing a lot lately, and I think she needs a break. Not many people know this about me, but I love putting my thoughts on paper these days, and since mommy spends so much time on this thing I thought that I would give it a whirl. :)

I began noticing over the summer that my mom's stomach started getting really big, and I felt sort of bad for her. I certainly didn't want to point out her sudden weight gain (she's been a little emotional lately), so I just started laying my head on her belly and softly patting it each day to show her that I cared and that I still loved her whether she was big or small. I thought it was a bit strange when my parents actually named mom's burgeoning midsection (yes, burgeoning midsection) thought they had lost their minds. But then, one day last week, it all started coming together for me.

I'm pretty sure there's like, a person in there. And her name is Gracie. And this explains all of the talk about being a "big sister" and having a new baby in the house and all of the other stuff that I thought was just odd. I'm still not 100% sure about what all of this means, but if my assumptions are correct, I'm not going to be the only kid living in this house for very much longer.

There's my mom and her big tummy. She's kind of a nerd sometimes, bless her heart. 

I know what it's like to be the new kid. Like the first time I spent an entire Sunday morning in the church nursery. I was not a happy camper. So I definitely wanted to make sure that I could do a little something to make this "Gracie" girl feel at home when she comes to stay with us. A lightbulb went off in my head this morning, and I decided that I would make her a sign to show her how much I care!

First I had to fire up my mom's Cricut machine. I just love pressing the pretty light up buttons! Sometimes this unexplainable urge comes over me to press a button while the Cricut is in the middle of cutting something, and it does not make my mom happy. At all. I don't get it! How is she able to resist those singing, glowing keys? Beats me. I think I'm going to try press one

Drat! I was caught red handed! Oh, well...there's always tomorrow. :)

Here are the letters that we cut out. Yeah, okay, so I have to admit that my mom helped a bit on this project. I'm little and I can't reach things, what can I say? 

It was my idea to add the Stickles! Stickles are these really cool liquidy tubes of glitter that make things sparkly and shiny. I just love shiny things!

We stickled away, and then it was about time for my nap. Daddy would be coming home from work soon, and we had plans to go shopping so we could buy the rest of the supplies we needed to finish up this project. Oh, there I am...just doing a little shopping. 

"Heeey!" Sometimes, it takes my mom a couple of tries to figure out the lighting on her camera. And usually by then I'm just annoyed that she's whipping out her camera in the middle of the shopping center. How embarrassing. 

I decided to take my parents to a five star restaurant for dinner. (Try the nuggets!) And when my mom was much too slow pouring my juice box into a sippy cup, I stole a drink of her tea. We don't have to tell can be like a secret. I'll have to remember that line for when Gracie gets here!

Alright, back to the project! When we got home, I had my mom help me brush some paint onto my hands so that I could add my handprint to the sign. A stroke of brilliance, if you ask me.

It was sticky, and messy, and my parents encouraged it. I ask you, what can be better than that?

We cut out my prints. I spy a monkey sandal! Then we made them pretty:

We decided to add some grass and flowers at the bottom. I'm super annoyed that my mom didn't cut enough grass for the entire bottom of the sign. I think her Cricut machine was being difficult...aaand, maybe I was trying to press the buttons, again...I don't know, could be. :) So we just put some in the middle.

More glitter! I love it!

And finally, HERE is our sign. Made with love for our Gracie:

Now that I know she's coming, I can't wait to meet her! I'm pretty excited about this big sister thing. My parents keep whispering to each other about being afraid that I'll be "jealous." Lucky for them, I don't know what that word means. So maybe I'll surprise them and be just fine. Personally, I'm thrilled to have a built-in playmate. She's going to be able to throw balls and run around with me from the start...right? Either way, I know we'll be fast friends. I hope she likes her sign! We had lots of fun making it. :)


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