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Monday, May 25, 2015

Wen and the Infomercials

My BFF and I often talk about infomercials.  We were roped in a few years ago with the Wen hair care line, and we both signed up for the cult "monthly shipping option".  Just recently, someone on FB asked about it, and I just thought "Oooooo!  She's about to drink the Kool Aid!"

Wen works.  It does.  It smells fabulous, my hair was shiny and soft, and I was able to comb through it easily.  (Just for reference, I have coarse, very curly long hair.) However, I have to use A LOT of it, and it costs a lot to maintain that every. single. month.  Like a drug, I suppose.

It just wasn't worth it to me, and then I tried to cancel and it was NOT EASY.  (You almost always end up paying for another month.) I went back to some of my other favorite shampoos and conditioners (Biolage Conditioning BALM--you need the balm, Suave Professionals (the one for curly hair), Fructis Sleek & Shine, Aveda Anything).  However, I recently found Pantene Cleansing Conditioner.  It doesn't foam up, and it advertises itself to be the cheap man's Wen.  It works great!! Dare I say, it works BETTER than the Wen.  It is all minty and tingly on the scalp, my hair is not frizzy, and conditions it really well.

And while we are the subject of informercials, here are a few I have been suckered into:

1.  Turby Twist--Greatest invention ever.
2.  CordaRoy Giant Bean Bag-- I want one or two.  We are still decorating our house, so these might be a future purchase.  The one negative in reviews is that they do not have enough stuffing.
3.  Wubble Bubbles--Tate makes fun of these every time we see them.  "Just play with a balloon!"
4.  Any QVC Scrapbooking Kit-Good, but I end up spending more on stuff I don't need, even if the whole kit is a deal
5.  Pasta Express--My sister swore by this.  I think it looks like the dumbest thing ever.
6.  Wikki Sticks--dumb.  Great for about 5 minutes of play and then dumb.
7.  Dutch Glow Amish Wood Milk-watched a full 20 minutes of this infomercial.
8.  Snackees--  My kids beg and beg and beg.
9.  Zippy Sacks-- Ugly Polyester Cat Sleeping Bag/Sheet?  Soleil flips out excited with each commercial she views.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Planning for Summer 2015

I am sooo excited!! I don't have to move this summer!! I have been planning for all of the fun things to do around here, and I started by theming the weeks to get us started.

I just picked themes that I thought the kids would like, and wrote them in my calendar on the first day of the week.  From there, my eyes were open for anything and everything that relates.

Week 1 is ANIMAL WEEK.  I went through all of our books and toys and pulled out anything that would relate.  Then, I have some craft kits put away and pulled out that related.  I added animal related activities to the list (zoo, pet store, MSU animal farms), and lastly went to the Pinterest, of course!!


Additions:

  • Sand table, filled with toy animals and colored sand.
  • Printes out mazes and puzzles that are animal themed for Tate.  
  • ALLLLLL of their stuffed animals used to decorate the living room the Monday of the week with them.  (I think even Tate will get a kick out of this.) 
  • Stickers in my stash that are animals.


And then I had to hide it all so they don't see it before the week, because that is part of the fun!  (It is all stuffed into the bottom basket.)
Our other themed weeks are:
BEACH WEEK, TRAINS & PLANES WEEK,  SPY WEEK (always a favorite), SCIENCE WEEK, GAMES & PUZZLES WEEK

The other thing that I do, is pick a Library day (Monday)and a Park Day (Thursdays), and put them on the calendar.  Now, we don't follow everything on the calendar, we just use it as a guideline.  We may not do a single thing listed, OR change entirely for the day because someone has asked us to do something.  The plan and the calendar just helps us look forward to things, plan with other folks, and to help avoid the dreaded "Mom! Can I have screen time!"

I would love to hear about your summer plans.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Back to Scrapbooking!

So many of my friends that used to scrapbook, have quit.  Is scrapbooking passe now?

I used to LOVE to go to crops, enjoying all the paper and stickers and glue.  But I hadn't scrapbooked in a really long time.  I was inspired by something my friend, Amy Gretchen showed me once when we were together.  She showed me this little notebook where she writes down cute things her girls say, things that the family does, and she spoke about "documenting her family's life".  She doesn't even know it, but I was so inspired by that!

As a stay at home mom, I take this job very seriously and I love it.  In that moment, I felt that part of my job was to document these years that go by oh-so-quickly.  When I am in the weeds of it all, I don't get around to scrapbooking.  Not only is it highly enjoyable to scrapbook, but the family will be so grateful for the memories preserved for later.  It was like AG gave me permission to scrapbook again:)
Soleil's choices on the left, mine on the right.  

For the last two days, I have been back into it.  I am sad that there are no longer scrapbook stores to wander, but Hobby Lobby was there for me:)  I went and bought new stickers, paper, and paint to coordinate, and I have been spending about 2 hours a day working on my book.  I tend to keep my nose to the grindstone all day, and I have to say, this permission to create has made my other chores much more enjoyable!!

I am doing Project Life, and I have lots of extra cards.  If you could use some, comment below, and I will mail some to you :)

Monday, April 13, 2015

The FLU

I hadn't gotten a flu shot since I got out of the military in 2000.  They always made me feel weird, and I would ALWAYS get sick afterwards.  I never got the flu from not getting the shot, and I didn't love the idea of being injected with God knows what.

But this week, I got the FLU, and it sucked beyond all belief!  I have never been this sick in my life.  I think I have changed my mind, and I will be getting that flu shot next year.  Soleil and Paul had gotten their shots, and did not get sick.  Tate and I wasted our Spring Break on fevers, and headaches, and we want a do-over!

The good news is, I am caught up on every single tv series that you can imagine.  I was actually sick of TV by the end of it, which I didn't think was possible!

Also, I am grateful for simple moments of NOT feeling sick.  I feel like these experiences are a reminder to stop complaining, and appreciate the doldrums of the every day. :)

Friday, April 03, 2015

Preschool Activities #Obsessed

"Mom! Please play with me!!"  We play together all the time, but sometimes... Mama needs a moment.  I set up little activities for Tate all the time when he was little, but that was 5 years ago.  I have forgotten what they were!  For this reason, I went to the almighty Pinterest for inspiration.

I fell down the "Kids Activities" "Busy Boxes" "Quiet Time Activities" worm hole on the Pinterest, and became obsessed.  Most of the stuff for these activities, I already had on hand (but that was after I convinced myself that I didn't need every sensory bin pictured!)   This is a good way to clean out your kid craft stuff, while presenting it in a new way.  We also made a few activities to share with Soleil's friend.  

Beads and Pipe Cleaners


Kinetic Sand+Table Cloth+Sand Table


Homemade Playdough (SOOOO Many recipes online!)
**In case you were wondering, homemade playdoh will turn totally to mold if you leave it sealed in a rubbermaid container for a few weeks.  Don't put it on a bookshelf and forget about it like I did!
Travel Sticker Kit inspired by THIS POST

This was a travel hit!
Fairy Garden using most things found in the yard.
Melissa and Doug reusable Stickers
Other activities include:
Mandala using little bits of fabric and yardstick cut into pieces.
Beads+Pipecleaners labelled with numbers

We went to Meijers today (kind of like a Walmart, but better) and found a few things that would be fun.  I like when the activities are surprises, so I took photos of things to get on a visit when the kiddos were not with me.

These are pool LED lights that float.  These would be fun in the tub or in a water table.  These were only 2.99, and you can also wait for them to go on sale at the end of the season.  The animals below are the also floating LED lights.

 I saw a tutorial for turning a baby pool into a ball pit, and for turning into a giant Easter Nest using paper bags.  I won't have time before Easter, but maybe I'll do it over the summer during Animal Week.
 And you can't go wrong with some of the Melissa & Doug activity books.   These are a few that Soleil does not have.  They have them at Michaels craft store as well.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Walt Disney World with Friends

Believe me when I tell you that this was the best vacation that I have had in nine years.  It wasn't one thing, as these things usually aren't... it was the combination of it all.  We had good friends to share the experience with, I didn't have a child in diapers or one that required naps, and we were in Disney World.

I grew up in FL.  I've been Disney a bazillion times.  But this time I saw it with new eyes: going with children is a completely different experience.  We took Tate to EuroDisney when he was almost 4.  He liked it, but didn't love it, and it was fun but not the amazing-attention-to-every-detail experience that we had at Disney World.

The customer service, as soon as your feet touch Disney soil, is amazing.  They really do treat you like a Disney Princess! In fact, one of the cast members even called me "Princess"!  (This goes a long way for a 41 year old mom who is feeling less than perfect these days.)  The food was amazing, the weather was beyond, and while we were on the go for the 4 short days we were there, we returned feeling rejuvenated and pampered.

And now for the photos:







Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Exciting Announcement!

For those of you who know me well, or talk to me often, this isn't a big announcement.  In fact, you have known about it for a long, long time since it something I talk about A LOT.  (Thank you for all of your patient ears!!!)

In the Fall 2015, I will be opening up CRAFT HAVEN WORKSHOPS in the Lansing, MI area.  This will be a cozy, yet elegant space that will be the host of many creative and crafty workshops.  

The story about making this dream come true involves many people along the way, but the most influence and credit comes from my dear friend, Kate Smith who owns the Makery in Bath, UK.  Check her out if you live in the UK, and check out her books and website, even if you don't!  She has been a mentor to me along the way, as well as Elizabeth Duvivier, creator of Squam, who gave me a much needed nudge when fear and doubt were creeping in.  In fact, lots of wonderful folks along the way have inspired me, even without them knowing:)  I am grateful.  

My business plan is done, accounts are opened.  The calendars and classes have been planned for ages.  (They will follow a seasonal theme, as I really love how Michigan really flows with the seasons.)  My logo designer is hired.  (She's also amazing and check her out at http://www.missmackie.com)  My realtor is looking for space, though I have a place in mind if it is still available by late summer.  (I'm giving in to fate on this one, folks!)  And lastly, my Soleil will be starting school, which allows me the time and energy to give all of my future clients the love and attention they will need.  These things take a lot of time and planning, and I am enjoying the journey.

I'm excited, and a little scared... but in that good way, like when you jump off of a cliff into a gorgeous lake on a hot summer day!