Thursday, July 31, 2014

July at Our House

Two whole weeks since I have last blogged?! Wow, that just tells you how busy it's been 'round here. My brother just got married last Saturday and that definitely kept me going, going, going this month with planning. Hopefully August will be a better month for me to get more writing done. In the meantime, please enjoy the goofy things the kids said this month.

July 2, 2014
L {discussing hair}: "Are your bumpies hair, too?" {points to Brett's stubble}
Makes me glad I shave my legs often enough to have never had this particular discussion.

July 12, 2014
L: "When we're all grown up will we still have the same names?"
Me: "Yes."
L: "So I'll still be Logan?"
Me {laughing}: "Yes."
L: "But I want a nickname!"
Well, good news then, junior high is coming... hopefully, not for a really, really long time, though.

July 14, 2014
L {noting my plaid shorts}: "Are you wearing Daddy's swim trunks?"
No. Just no.

July 15, 2014
M: "M-o-o-o-o-o-m, he drank water off the driveway!"
Oh, well. At least he's drinking water, which he really never seems to drink enough of, in my opinion.

July 18, 2014
M: "It smells so much better in the basement!"
I had gotten distracted and walked away from the grilled cheese sandwich I was making, so it got quite blackened and the entire first floor stunk. It happens. Not often, okay, but every once in a loooong while.

July 28, 2014
L {seeing bird poop on his side of the van as we were getting ready to leave}: "I don't want our car to have purple poop on it!"
It will all be okay. Really.

July 29, 2014
L: "Don't get white feet." {said while stepping in between the lines of the crosswalk}
Earlier in the day, he had seen the men painting the center line, so he was worried that the paint might be wet outside of Sam's Club.

July 31, 2014
L: "I wanna do my Bigfoot."
Me: "What do you mean?"
L: "I wanna ride my Bigfoot."
Me: "Oh, you mean your Big Wheel?"
L: "Yeah!"
He just bought this today with his own money at community-wide yard sales. Brings back memories.




July 31, 2014
M: {after reading Henry and Mudge books}: "Now I feel like eating crackers."
Not happening, sister. I am totally on to your bedtime delay tactics. Nice try, though!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Boy's World

Some days I think that I will never truly understand this kid. I really just do not know what goes on inside his little head. One thing is for sure. He often brings a smile to my face just by being himself. For example, today's snack time turned into a creative activity. The dinosaurs all got new shoes made from grapes and Goldfish crackers. (I am guessing this was inspired by yesterday's trip to the shoe store for new sneakers.) It's pretty ingenious, albeit impractical. But really, what's the point of always being practical? This life lesson brought to you by my four-year-old.

{Perhaps even dinosaurs need new shoes.}

Sunday, July 13, 2014

3-Ingredient Homemade Shaving Cream: Update

I posted this recipe over a year ago, and decided to do an updated post now. I am still making my own shaving cream and loving it! I have made a couple of minor changes that I thought were worth noting for the past couple of batches, though. I think my first changes came in March, and I just made another batch this week using these methods.

#1 I decided to experiment with almond oil in place of extra virgin olive oil. I wasn't sure if this would make a difference. The olive oil is probably cheaper, but I figured it was worth trying since I had it on hand anyway for my homemade face moisturizing oil. This changes the color slightly, but at first glance, it is pretty much the same. For a trial, I shaved one leg with the new batch of homemade stuff and the other with my old can of Skintimate. For me, there was a clear winner in the smoothness department, but just to be fair, I asked my hubby to do a "blind test" asking him to feel them and tell them if he noticed a difference -- without telling him why. Not surprisingly, he decided that the leg shaved with my homemade version was softer and smoother. Yeah!

#2 Shea butter. So, when I went to order more on Amazon, I actually ended up getting African shea butter for whatever reason. I must not have paid attention very closely. Is there a difference in how they work? Not that I can tell. There is a difference in color (more yellow) and smell. The African one seems a bit more chocolate-y to me, and trust me, that is not a bad thing at all. Hence, my newer batches are more yellow and smell different than my previous batches, but otherwise they have had the same skin conditioning qualities.

#3 My old hand mixer bit the dust last June, which you may have recalled if you happened to read this post about how in love I was with my new stand mixer. So, the old hand mixer worked pretty well for whipping up shaving cream, but it was messy and my hands did get tired doing it. Since it is no longer in the picture, I put my shaving cream block (more on that in directions below) in the stand mixer bowl, and whipped it up with the wire whisk attachment. Strangely, this takes about twice the amount of time than doing it by hand (6-7 minutes versus 3) BUT it's hands-free and definitely less messy. The only suggestion I have is to stop it a couple of times and stir the mixture by hand to get the solid chunks down from the sides of the bowl and back into optimal position for proper mixing. Easy.

{Here's a new batch after it "settled."}

Why homemade shaving cream? I wanted to eliminate chemicals! I like knowing what I am putting on my body. Also, my last batch lasted just over 4 months -- take that store-bought shaving cream! (There is no way a can of that stuff would have made it that long.) Here is how to make your own natural shaving cream. (Organic ingredients are always a plus, but I wouldn't say they are a must.)

Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup shea butter (mine is African)
  • 1/4 cup almond oil (or extra virgin olive oil, if you don't happen to have almond oil)

Directions:
  1. In a sauce pan over low heat, melt the shea butter and coconut oil. (This takes between 5 and ten minutes -- a bit longer with African shea butter than with plain shea butter, which I don't remember as being as dense.)
  2. Pour the melted contents of the pan into a container. (I use a plastic bowl.) Add your almond oil (or olive oil) and stir to combine.
  3. Allow the mixture to solidify in the refrigerator. (I still can't tell you how long this takes. More than an hour, but it will certainly be ready if you let it set over night, which is what I tend to do since I seem to always be making a new batch after the kids are in bed.)
  4. Remove the block from the bowl (or other container) and place it in your mixing bowl. (Mine have always slid out easily once I tipped the bowl over, so this shouldn't be hard for you either.)
  5. Whip the shaving cream. This used to take about 3 minutes with my hand mixer. Now, it takes a bit longer with the stand mixer (as mentioned above).
  6. Store your shaving cream in air-tight containers. Labeling them is suggested. I like to just use masking tape and permanent marker to write the contents and date made.
  7. To shave, I use my fingers to remove a dollop of shaving cream and spread it on my skin. It liquefies once you rub it in, and I love this. It never runs down my legs and gets wasted like commercial shaving creams or gels have a tendency to do. Also, the moisture gets locked into the skin. I know this because I see the water bead up where I have applied my shaving cream -- so it does two jobs in one. It works in all the usual places: underarms, legs, bikini area, and although I have not personally tried it, a man could also shave his face with this stuff. Note: Use caution if you like to shave in the shower since it may make the shower floor a teensy bit slippery at times.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Creative Monster

Just when I think that I am not being much of a writer this month -- or anything creative, really --inspiration strikes. I empty the vacuum canister into the trash can, and what do I see staring up at me but a grinning "creative monster." He has just one eye, a straggler left over from some odd craft project. (This is fairly typical at our house, to step on a sequin, bead, pipe cleaner, or googly eye. Brett is always threatening to throw them away and then the kids grab them and find temporary hiding places for them.) All except for this eye, which apparently could not escape my vacuum cleaner's appetite. I think my creative monster is encouraging me to go create something!

{You see it, too, right? Or am I losing it?}

June at Our House

Wow! This month flew by! We had Brett's birthday and our anniversary. I had hoped to post something fun in honor of my 4th blogiversary, but that came and went with no fanfare. And did I mention that I started a business? Yep, I just hit lead consultant with Jamberry, woo hoo!! A busy month, indeed.

June kept me so busy that I actually forgot to give a shout-out to all my prayer warriors on June 13, which is the date that I went into the hospital with my little man's pregnancy five years ago. So, a belated thank you to all of you who kept us going during that time. It means more to me than I can even express. Here are the funny things the kiddos said this month.

June 5, 2014
Brett {playing hide-and-seek with the kids}: "9... 27..."
M {from her hiding spot}: "Dad, that is not the right way to count!"
Brett: "I thought they were both upstairs so I didn't think it mattered."
Busted.

June 8, 2014
M: "Where do Canadians come from?"
Well, when a mommy Canadian and a daddy Canadian fall in love...

June 8, 2014
L: "It's not broken. It's just in three pieces."
I have no clue what he was referring to, but at least he's got a silver lining outlook here.

June 10, 2014
Brett {the day after his birthday}: "I feel so old."
M: "Well, you shouldn't! You're not even close to 90!"
Whew! That certainly puts it in perspective.

June 14, 2014
L: "It's a vacuum cleaner!" {said while sucking ice cream off the table with a straw}
Why do I feel like this is just another variant of a familiar story...?

June 17, 2014
M: "Hey, Mom, were there tractors around when you were little?"
Why, yes, honey there were. And it was a good thing, too. You see, my dinosaur had just died so this was the only way I had to get to school. Seriously, though, how old does she think I am?!

June 19, 2014
L: "Whoa, I saw a squirrel. It was dancing!"
M: "It was probably with a girl. Squirrels do funny things when they're showing off."
I find it interesting that she has made this observation, and wondered if she noticed the same thing with people?

June 23, 2014
M: "It's your anniversary? So we've gotta be really, really nice to you?"
Brett: "Yes."
{a little bit later}
M {seeing my gift to Brett, 52 Things I Love about You}: "You've been married for 52 years?!"
Me: "No, we've been married for 13 years."
M: "That's a long time!"
A long time? It's nowhere near 90!


{This was a creative project started at a MOPS meeting ages ago,
and finally completed in time for our anniversary. It's challenging
to come up with so many meaningful and distinct reasons, but
 being a "professional" writer, I pulled it out. I assume
 the inspiration for the project involved a deck of playing cards.}


June 28, 2014
M {while in the van}: "Why do I smell waffles? Oh, never mind, I see the Wendy's sign!"
Yeah, I don't get it either. Even if Wendy's sold waffles, which they don't, she wouldn't smell them near the billboard along the freeway.

June 29, 2014
M: "Maybe we should have named Ritzy 'Licky' because she licks so much."
Well, that would make sense... I cannot even share publicly the reason she got her name. I will just tell you that Brett was responsible for naming her.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Summer Vacation Day 1:
- Extracted loose tooth from girl child’s mouth. (This was good because she had been whining for days about it hurting her.)
- Boy child peed on both sofa cushions.
- Did 3 loads of laundry (when I normally do 1 per day) because boy child is having potty training regression. (Haha. See above.)
- Figured out that 101 Dalmatians is the perfect length to get the lawn mowed. (Seriously, I couldn’t have planned it better. “The End” popped up on the TV screen as I walked inside, meaning that that children had no time to create mischief.)
- Located and used plunger to deal with boy child’s overly enthusiastic usage of toilet paper. (Reminded self that he used the toilet and cleaned himself up – progress!)
- Finally convinced kids to have some outside time, not that we lasted as long as we hoped. (What’s up with the temps in the 60’s?!)
- Did I mention it was Friday the 13th and there was a full moon? (Or does that go without saying?)



Summer Vacation Day 2:
- Our first day of VBS. We are exhausted.
- Kids are cranky and refuse to play outside, and so they are passing time by annoying one another. Fantastic.
- Zumba for stress relief. Obviously.

Summer Vacation Day 3:
- Another day when kids get overtired at VBS and then refuse to play outside.
- Had to carry boy child out of VBS, kicking and screaming. (Cannot recall exact reason, but he was MAD.)
- Boy child poops his pants. {face palm}
- Girl child asks to do homework! {tiny victory dance}
- Zumba is not an option, so Mommy resorts to having a hard cider. (Note: It was terrible and I only drank half of it. Save your money and do not get Johnny Appleseed.)
- Fortunately, a hot bath helped. (Why haven’t I had one of those in so long?)

Summer Vacation Day 4:
- Boy child decided to frontload his tantrum for the day. He had an absolute meltdown over losing a single penny that he had brought to donate to the VBS offering.
- Success! They weren’t so crabby after VBS and we were able to go to summer reading program kickoff and see some fun science experiments. (Girl child informs me that we simply must buy some Mentos and Diet Coke… despite the fact that we eat/drink neither of those things and she has seen this experiment done three times – twice this week! Kids.)
- Learned that girl child has a weird gift: She can catch flies with her bare hands and then release them outside. Second day in a row! Have a mini Mr. Miyagi comes in handy when your flyswatter is missing in action. (Where can that thing be…?)
- Stress relief option for tonight: shopping without children. It’s a wee bit sad when going to Target alone is your definition of Heaven on Earth, but there it is. (The only issue is that you have no one to bounce things off which means you spend entirely too long in a dressing room debating whether or not to purchase elastic waist pants. Yes, they fit, which is HUGE, and they were comfortable and cute, but seriously? Elastic waist pants? Do you really want to go there?! You note material: rayon and care instructions: dry flat. Ha! As if! You wisely put them back and try to pretend you were never really considering them in the first place.)

Summer Vacation Day 5:
- It’s nice to hear them singing the VBS songs. Really, I need to keep reminding myself of this.
- Mommy is the one who is cranky and tired today. Working VBS is exhausting! (No wonder all those other moms just drop their kids off and leave…) It does not help that I am a teensy bit hormonal. (Tomorrow’s the last day for VBS! Then, I can rest a bit.)
- Boy child is being ridiculously loud. And for him, that's saying a lot. He normally only has the one volume setting: loud, but today it's just insane. 
- Why won’t they play outside?! They need it desperately! (And not just for the reason listed above, but oh my goodness, is that a huge factor.)
- Taking photos at softball game for some stress relief. (Yeah, the kids are finally playing outside!)
- Was planning to work on this blog post for more relaxation but accidentally deleted entire thing somehow… and now am trying to rewrite it from memory. {feel like crying} Good news, though, I don't think my brain is quite as decayed as I fear. Most of it is coming back to me.
- In happier news, I have a fabulous new Jamicure which makes me smile.
- Also, chocolate should be its own food group. That is all.



Summer Vacation Day 6:
- Boy child wet his pants during the last few minutes of the last day of VBS. (Fortunately, I had extra clothes in the van, and I had to at least be glad that he made it through the rest of the week without that happening.)
- Then the MAJOR meltdown happened. Cannot even explain what it was all about. He was upset that I threw his potato chips away, I think, and he wanted an ice pop.
- Girl child tore her fingernail and was extremely tired, so she was nearly in tears while all this was going down. (She wasn't the only one who felt that way.)
- Hallelujah! He fell asleep on the way home and napped for 3 hours. This gave her some good down time before getting ready for dance recital.
- I am not good at putting my seven-year-old's hair in a bun. Or applying red lipstick to her tiny mouth. These things stress me out beyond belief -- not to mention that she had her first ever costume-change during recital, and she performed at the beginning and at the END of the show, which is insanely long. It was after 9:00 when I finally got her from backstage (after waiting in that torturous line... WHY? Why do they make me wait every year when I just want to get her home and in bed?!)
- Also, it rained, so I didn't get any photos with decent lighting because we couldn't take any outside. {pouts}
- On the plus side, (because I really need to find a silver lining, and possibly some chocolate...) we made it through recital, made it through VBS, and made it through the first week of no school! It can only get easier from here on out, right?




Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Insight

If you ever want to know what goes on inside the mind of a child, just check out her artwork. This is the latest installation in an ongoing series of sidewalk chalk drawings by my seven-year-old daughter (who seems to think that she is the only one who has ever been cursed with an "annoying little brother.") I have entitled it, "Lions, and Tigers, and NO Screaming Boys, Oh My!"