Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Monster Birthday Bash!

How to throw a monster themed childrens birthday party on a budget!

Hey all! Last weekend my twin sons turned 3 years old. Wow! Having 5 kids, we do not throw them all a big birthday party every single year, more like every other. It gets to be too much, especially since my kids are 5 of 13 grand kids. I don't want to do that to my extended family. But, this was their year and it couldn't have gone better. They are at an age now where the build up to their monster party was pretty adorable. They watched the party prep progress all week long and got so very excited with each step of the way. Love it!

As a family of 7 on one income, it is important not to go overboard when creating a party. I was able to throw this whole party for about $75. I invited 32 people (including us) and ended up with 23 total. If you break that down...that is only $3.30 per person. Nice! Included in that cost was invitations, decorations, a game, a craft, food and punch, party favors and a photo booth. Keep in mind that I will always try and use items that I already have on hand or that I can find for free, which helps keep the cost down quite nicely.

Why monsters? You mean besides the fact that my crazy twin boys are sweet little monsters? Well, a couple that I am friends with had a monster party for their nephew a while back and had hand made these awesome decorations out of scrapbook and craft paper. They put so much work into them and did not want to just throw them away so they asked me if I was interested in them. Um..YES! Please and thank you! That is where this all began.

Aren't they cute?!

There were 13 large monsters, 10 small ones and some monster mouths and eyes of different sizes. Perfect. I rolled with it.

After seeing these I went straight to Pinterest and created a board that you can peek at HERE. Pinterest is a wonderful (and free!) resource for basically any project you can think of. This is where I found almost all of my ideas for this party. There are also some pins that I didn't end up using but they are just too cute not to keep. Check it out!

Evite.com is my favorite (free!) resource for sending invitations via email. They have tons of fun free templates to choose from. They also have premium options that you can use for a fee but I have yet to need that service. I love free! You can also send messages to guests as needed and keep track of your rsvps. Here is the template I chose:

Image from www.evite.com

Unrelated to the party cost, I ordered my twins Monster's Inc. themed t-shirts to wear at their party. A birthday present, of course. There is currently a 2 pack for only $16.99 on Amazon.com (free shipping for Prime members). You can check them out HERE.

Image from www.Amazon.com

During the week leading up to the party, I slowly worked on my party projects while the kids were playing nicely during the day or after they went to bed at night. I started out with the party hats and the photo booth props.

The hats were plain and I just glued on googly eyes and taped teeth into each one. I cut the teeth out of white construction paper. So easy!

For the photo booth props, I cut out the desired shapes from a piece of foam board using an exacto knife and covered them with construction paper using Elmers glue. I also purchased 4 wooden 1/4" dowels that I had my hubby cut in half for me with the Dremel so there would be 8 sticks total. These I hot glued onto the back of each prop. I also made a frame for people to hold using another piece of foam board.

The morning of the party I made a monster back-drop on my living room wall using 2 rolls of wrapping paper and a pack of border from the dollar store. Here is a picture of the finished product:

The box I used to hold the props was an old potato chip box we had lying around that I wrapped and poked holes in the top of. Total project cost was just under $10 and it was a hit at the party. We captured so many great pictures. Here are just a few...

The birthday boys!

Me & my daughter

My oldest son and sweet little nephew

I decorated the front door very simply using 2 paper plates and construction paper, making a big monster smile to greet our guests.

When guests first arrived I sent their kids straight to the craft table. This gave the grown-ups a chance to settle in and say hello to everyone. Basically, I covered the train table in the toy room with a plastic dollar store tablecloth and set up there. I put out a stack of plain paper plates, a bowl of tissue paper squares, Elmers glue, a handful of crayons, white paper triangles I had cut out in random sizes and a pack of googly eyes. The only thing I had to purchase for this project were the eyes. $7.99 for the big pack. Total splurge. Ha! Everything else I already had around the house. With these they were able to make "furry" monster faces. It kept them nice and busy for a little while.

For the game I kept it very simple. I used 1 piece of foam board and a bag of 12 plastic ping pong sized eyeballs (Halloween section), both from the dollar store. I colored a big monster on the foam board and cut out a hole for the mouth. This was similar to a bean bag toss game. The kids took turns throwing eyeballs into the monster's mouth and whoever made the most in won a bag of sour gummy worms. The little ones stood up close and the older the kids were, the farther back they had to stand. My nephew Austin won with a whopping 6 eyeballs!

Usually, I like to make a ton of food or a big meal but since having my twins I have been better with knowing my limits of what I can/should do. I decided to relieve some possible stress and host the party from 2-5 PM (between meal times) so that munchies and treats would suffice. This also helps keep costs down. The menu was cheese balls, Asian snack mix, trail mix, baby carrots and dip, Rice Krispie treats, sherbet punch, cupcakes and cakepops. My mother-in-law also brought over a yummy tray of little ham and cheese sliders, one of my all time favorite party foods! You can find a great recipe for them HERE.

Monster party food!

I love candy eyeballs. So easy to turn sweet treats into little monsters. I couldn't help but make the cakepops into little Mike Wazowskis!

And my favorite project I saved for last! The favors for our kiddo guests. Instead of buying candy and little plastic toys that break and handing out baggies or the like, I decided to do the Adopt-A-Monster idea I found on Pinterest. Now, you can just order a 12 pack of plush monsters on Amazon.com for only $14 currently so please know that there is a way to do this without hours and hours of work (HERE)...but, I do soooo love a good crafty night...or 2. I enjoyed this one very much.

Every kid at the party got to take home a cute and unique little monster plush or puppet and then my twins got to keep the rest. Total cost to me was just under $10. (Not to mention 2 nights in front of my sewing machine...Yay!) I used 2 packs of 12 count felt rectangles and one bag of polyfil fiber. For their eyes I just used old buttons from my craft supplies. Here are some photos of the process, an Adopt-A-Monster tutorial.

Pin 2 pieces of felt together.

Draw desired monster shape onto one panel of felt using a marker.

Cut out monster shape.

Layout desired face designs using felt scraps and old buttons.

I worked in batches of 4 monsters at a time.

I was running out of ideas for different monster shapes so I used Google images to help with inspiration.

Sew on your buttons and scraps, being sure to do so on the right side of the felt fabric. Then, sew around the edges of the monster, leaving enough open area to turn the monster inside-out for stuffing. If you are making it a puppet, sew all but the bottom of the monster closed and then turn it inside-out.

Voila! 12 spectacular monsters to be adopted.

So, there it is. One of my best kiddo parties to date in my humble opinion. Lol!. I hope you enjoyed reading about it. Thanks for stopping by!

If you liked this post, you may also like:

The Sweetest Thing

My Twins & Their First Year: A Celebration

Monday, August 24, 2015

I'm Still Here

Image from: http://uobmarketing.blogspot.com/2013/10/its-been-while.html

Hello out there world! It has been a while since I posted. That happens sometimes, though. Life just gets all busy and I get pulled in a million different directions. My family and I have also been going through some "stuff", for lack of a better word. It pains me that I can not share it with you. That is the fine line I choose to walk as a mom blogger, though. Some bloggers share everything. I choose to keep certain things close and sacred for the sake of my family and respect for their privacy. So, all I can say on that topic for now is that I am struggling mentally and emotionally...but will be OK...eventually.

Any-who...what's new around here? Great question.

Summer is fast coming to an end and school days are right around the corner. I will have a senior, a sophomore, a kindergartner and two three year olds this time around. Unreal. It blows my mind because I still don't feel old enough to have two kids in high school...but I do. We are starting to talk college plans with my oldest while my daughter begs every day to know how many more days until her first day of school ever. Best of both worlds.

I am looking forward to this new school year very much. Before the twins were born I was that mom that volunteered for anything and everything at school for my oldest boys. Even when my daughter DJ came along, I still managed to take on some big tasks for the school. Once the twins were born I had to step back and focus on the home front. Now that they are almost three, I can finally start volunteering again. Room mom, class parties, mystery readers, book fairs and more. It will be nice to get that piece of my life back that I have missed so much. I love being involved and sharing that passion with the children, getting them excited and involved in their school. And with the twins on DJ's proverbial school heels, we have MANY more years of this ahead of us. Yay!

The twins are almost three and have been coined by my second oldest son to be the "Deuce of Hazards". Love it...the name, not the hazards, lol. These two crazy toddler boys get into more mischief and situations than my previous three children do/did combined. Two brains are truly better than one and they prove this to me almost daily. Just for a short example, we have been in our new house about fourteen months now and my twins are on their third doorknob for their bedroom already. What!? Yeah...just a tiny glimpse into my world where the twins are concerned. You never know what you are going to find when you go into their room. Just the other afternoon I went in to get them up after their nap and found them both just chilln' naked in Z's bed, not a care in the world. Happy and free. When I asked them where their diapers went, Z told me they were gone. Well, they weren't "gone" but were shoved into a crack in their race car beds. At least they didn't poop on the floor. Ha! Someday I will get around to telling you all more about their shenanigans. Promise.

My new business is starting out pretty slow, which is totally fine and to be expected. I am in no hurry since my twins won't even be headed to school for another three years. Also, with some of that family "stuff" I mentioned earlier, I have decided to take a couple of weeks off of trying to get it up and running so that I can stay focused on us and not cause myself to have another year like 2014. 2014 and I were not great friends and I will leave it at that. I truly believe that being a personal chef is the right choice of career for me and my family but I will continue to get it going at my own pace, on my own terms. That's what makes it so great, being my own boss. You can get the whole scoop on my business website at www.flavorfare.com!

My GoFundMe charity just celebrated it's first birthday! If you haven't heard about my mission yet, please check it out. Basically, once a month my volunteers and I cook a weeks worth of meals for a local family in need who are struggling with an ill child/family member. With the donations we receive we are able to purchase the groceries needed to accomplish this task. I would love your support or even just a share to spread the word about Food With Love! Thank you.

There are so many things on my plate that I want to share with you but I will save it for a later date. Once the kids get back into the whole school routine and the "stuff" is finally behind me, I look forward to doing so. I have room makeovers coming up, some DIY home decor projects, a few parties to host and so much more. So, please, stay tuned and check back. I appreciate your years of support and am excited for many many more.

 If you would like to keep up with my recipes and kitchen product reviews, you can find those on my sub-blog Ginny Says So.

And I haven't had anyone take me up on this yet but I would LOVE to give it a go! I have an advice blog called Ask Ginny. Check it out and ask me questions. Anything at all. Cooking, parenting, marriage, career and much more. I am at the ready! Hit me with your best shot.

Until next time, have a wonderful week!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

DIY Dresser to Entertainment Center

Spring is in the air. The windows are open. The kids are playing outside. What more could a Momma with a brain full of projects want?! It is time to start.

Today I am working on a DIY home decor project. I am turning a pretty awesome dresser that I purchased at a garage sale last Summer into our entertainment center.


See the before picture above. This is how I found it at a garage sale. I had my eyes open all season long and was excited when this one popped up. Before, I was assuming that I would end up finding a plain old wooden dresser that would need a fun color coat of paint or two and all new hardware. I knew about how much I was willing to spend on such a thing. When I saw this cool red dresser that was already painted well AND had decent looking handles AND came with two baskets?...I was shocked. The price was $170, which is more than I would usually spend on a used furniture item but when I took into consideration the time that I would save on getting another item to the same condition, it seemed like a no-brainer trade to me. So, there she was, all pretty like, but still needing my touch to make her just right. All of those eye-sore electronics and cords would have a home very soon.

There are three items we want to be housed in this unit: the receiver, the PlayStation whatever and the XBox thing-a-ma-jiggy. I chose to remove one drawer and both baskets, as they were good size openings for our electronics. I will be using those two baskets somewhere else in the house. But that's a project for another day.

The two basket compartments were already finished nicely on the inside so I only had to build a cubby in one drawer space. A not very aesthetically pleasing hole in the dresser so I had myself a little project. Yay!

Family trip to Home Depot!

The twins are really enjoying Home Depot trips. I predict two handymen!

I purchased a piece of sanded plywood that is 1/4" (thick) x 2'x4' in order to make two sides and a bottom for the cubby. They even cut it for me in the store. Cost for the wood: $9.92.

I put the boards into place and used a few finishing nails to secure them. And then it was time to use power tools. Double yay!

I wanted all of the cords for our electronics to go out the back of the unit. That means I got to drill holes into the back panel. I used a hole saw attachment for our drill and put a hole in the back of the three electronics compartments.

Now all she needed was some paint in her plain wooden cubby. I decided on Saffron Strands (yellow) by Behr. I love this color and had some leftover from our Music Room Makeover project. A penny saved...


I am very pleased with how she turned out. I will take a better 'after' picture when we have the living room painted and the electronics installed, but for now this one will have to do. We are also going to have the TV mounted up onto the wall above this piece. I can't wait to have it nice and organized. Thank you so much for reading and please come again!

*** If you would like to follow my home decor boards on Pinterest, just click HERE. ***

Monday, March 9, 2015

There's No Such Thing

Image from: http://www.christelow.com/five-little-monkeys-jumping-on-the-bed-by-eileen-christelow.html

...As a perfect day. At least not when you have five kids. Maybe if you just have one kid...maybe. I wouldn't know though so for now I will just assume...and whine a bit.

Oh, but I try. Some days I feel it stronger than others. Of course I want to be a great mom every day. I want my kids to be happy and feel loved and special all of the time. It's a mom thing, I'm sure. But this morning, standing in the kitchen, feeding the three littles their breakfast, staring out the sliding patio door at the sunny bright and glorious morning it was turning out to be I thought to myself, "Let's get out and do something fun today!" The teens are off of school. My preschooler is off for the day, too. We could all go, the six of us...to...the Como Zoo!! Yes!

So, I proceeded to pack a picnic lunch for my brood (because seriously, feeding six people at the zoo is sooooo expensive!). I also packed the diaper bag as quietly as I could so that the toddlers woulsn't see me. If they catch me they will freak out, start yelling "Bye, Bye!" repeatedly and throw their shoes and jackets at my feet constantly, for however long it takes to really be time to go "Bye Bye." Not an un-stressful event.

By this time it is about 9:45 A.M. and I decided that it was an okay time to ask the teens to get up even though it was a no school day and I really try not to wake them up unless I have to. Family time is a good enough reason in my book sometimes. So, teen number one got up no problem. Teen number two rolled around with an arm over his eyes, blocking out the hideously beautiful rays of sun shining so annoyingly through his bedroom window and mumbled in a pathetic little voice over and over, "Why?" I smirked, as he couldn't see me, and said, "Because I love you. I love you so much that I want to take you on a picnic so...get up." He rolled around some more and as I was leaving his room I heard him mumble something along the lines of, "Ugh, don't love me that much." Ha! I retort, "Oh, but I do, My Love. I do. Time to get up!"

Five kids awake, fed and nearly ready. What?! Yup. By 10:30 A.M. we were all in the car and on the way. I was admittedly on edge for the drive whole because my twin toddlers are car pukers. The worst. Driving anywhere that is a half hour or more away from our house is always a risky situation. Sigh. So, I watched them like a hawk all the way there, ready to pull over and catch some vomit at a moments notice. Luckily, we made it to the zoo without incident. Whew!

I had also decided to be brave and bring no stroller. I repeat...No Stroller! The twins are two and a half years old. I wanted them to use up lots of their pent-up-being-stuck-in-the-house-all-winter-long energy while also learning to listen and follow me in public. This could have gone horribly wrong but...it didn't. They were total champs. Or as they prefer that I call them..."Big Guys."

The zoo was not busy at all. We got great parking. The kids got up close with any animal they wished. It was amazing. I knew going into this venture that it could have been the complete opposite. A day off of school and it was almost 50° outside for maybe the first time all winter long. As a Minnesotan, I was shocked but in a good way. It was probably one of the best trips to the zoo with my kids that I have ever had. Truly.

We even made it all the way back home afterwards with no vomiting, although I had taken off their jackets and kept the windows open a bit trying to keep them at the perfect temperature. Looking back on what I have written so far really magnefys to me that I have so many things to think about all of the damn time. Like one of those plate twirlers of the old variety shows. It can feel like that sometimes. I also know that I am only remembering some of the day's details. Ah well. I am sure most people quit reading this ridiculous account many paragraphs ago.

Image from: http://outoftheash.com/2014/07/

We got home at around 3:00 P.M. and everyone was still pretty happy. One teen ran off to play basketball with a friend and the other one down to his XBox. The three littles played nice in the toy room until 4:00 and I decided the twins needed a little quiet time in their room while I started dinner. They were only mad about that for a couple minutes. No biggie.

I found a batch of chili that I had frozen a while back and chose that for dinner. Nice and easy after a long day out with all of the kiddos. Threw in a couple trays of fries, why not? Chili Cheese Fries it was with hardly any cooking effort.

I go to check on the twins at 5:00 P.M. and Z had fallen asleep but not E so I brought them both back down to the toy room. I didn't want Z to sleep too long and be up all night but, he actually stayed asleep even after I brought him down so I just let him be. He slept through dinner. My first sign that the night was possibly taking a turn. But at that point I think maybe I can still keep it up. I was exhausted but wanted them to be happy still so I decided that we should go to the YMCA since Z slept so late. It is their favorite place to go, after all. That way Z could use up his energy so he would still go to bed at a normal time, right?

Halfway to the YMCA and Z started crying that he was hungry, "Hun-gy Mommy. Hun-gy!" The one time I do not pack granola bars in the diaper bag for our trip to the gym. Total bummer. We got all the way into the gym and up to the childcare counter and he has a total meltdown. Lucky for us there is a Subway in the building so I checked in DJ and E and proceeded to sneak back out with Z so that E wouldn't see us. Not an easy task as they are pretty attached to each other, you know, twins and all. I succeded and bought him a ham sandwich kids meal. We sat down, just the two of us, while he ate the whole thing. It was actually a very sweet little unplanned dinner date. He was so cute and very happy.

When he was all finished eating he got excited to go to the childcare room and play. He practically ran all the way there through the hallways. We got in and he started to have another meltdown out of nowhere because he was suddenly very thirsty for water, mind you he drank all of his milk just minutes ago. He couldn't stop crying. E saw us and came over just as I was getting Z my water bottle and then he started to have a meltdown from the other side of the wall because he wanted water now too. It didn't end. They just kept crying and we all had to leave. Z kept saying, "Go bye bye." No workout for Mommy. I had packed up and drove all the way to the gym with three kids in tow for nothing. At least it felt that way. We got to the car and Z started crying that he wants to go to the YMCA. (Insert face palm here) He continued crying all the way home.

As I drove home with the sound of my youngest son crying I though to myself, thank goodness there is a box of wine at home. Then, I immediately remembered that I had to pick up one of my teens from baseball practice at 9:30 P.M. and that there would be no wine for me anytime soon. Ugh! Lol. So, I decided to sit here and write this stupid story and torture you, my readers, instead. So sorry.

Anyway, my point...let's pretend there really is one. Shall we?

It doesn't matter how hard I try or how good my intentions are going into a day like today. With five children, five personalities, five wills, fifty fingers, twenty limbs, five mouths and so very much more, I can not and will not ever make them all happy at the same time. We won't ever have one whole perfect day from start to finish. There is always going to be "something." Someone is going to cry. Someone is going to fall down. Someone is going to hit someone else. Someone is going to have an accident. Someone is not going to like the food. Someone is going to spill. Someone is going to say something mean. Someone is going to puke. But you know what? I am going to keep on trying. I am going to keep on taking them places and trying to give them that perfect day. I am going to pack picnics and wake them up early when the mood strikes me. I am going to keep trying even when I am exhausted. Even when I know how it's all going to end.

Because I am a Mom and that's what we do.

Now, I will go pick up my kid so I can come home and have that glass of wine.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Caramel Iced Coffee Concentrate Recipe

I love iced coffee. Maybe love isn't a strong enough word here. Let's just say that if money were no object than I would go to Caribou every damn day and get myself one. Yum! Kind of like Mary-Louise Parker's character in Weeds who has a to-go cup of the delicious nectar from the addictive bean practically glued to her hand at all times. That would be me...only less stoned.

Image from: http://wholehealthdesigns.com/2011/07/coffee-diet-coke-and-nancy-botwin/

If you enjoy twisted shows where the "heroine" constantly makes poor life decisions yet is somehow adorably lovable and entertaining at the same time...you should watch Weeds. Seriously. Jenji Kohan has got that genius on tap! Love her.

Back to the subject though...Iced Coffees. In April 2013 someone had shared a recipe for this decadent sludge on Facebook and I had to give it a try. It was so good that I saved the recipe for future use. I decided to make another batch up yesterday and went over to my laptop to see if I could find the original recipe link so that I could Pin it. Not much luck. All I know is that it may have started out as a modified Pampered Chef recipe. So, all I can say is that I didn't invent this recipe but I did make an optional modification to it and took nice pictures. The only Pin I could find used a stock photo of coffee and the web link went to a dead website and was created only a year ago so, I'm calling dibs. Ha! Here it is:

Caramel Iced Coffee Concentrate Recipe


1 1/2 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Water
1 Cup Instant Coffee crystals
1/2 Cup Caramel Sauce
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 tsp. Flavor extract of choice (optional)

I decided to add a dram of this Butterscotch flavor extract to my batch last night. I imagine many flavors would be available and tasty. Think cinnamon, hazelnut, chocolate and so on. And even if you don't use any at all the coffee drink will still be super good. This was the first time I even tried the extra extract. Do what you like.


Bring all of the ingredients in a saucepan to a boil. Allow to cool completely. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

When ready to enjoy, mix 2 Tbsps of concentrate with 8 ozs of milk. Pour over ice and enjoy!

Like yours a little stronger? Just add a little extra concentrate. So easy. So tasty.

I love that I can just go to my fridge and get a Iced Coffee without leaving the house or breaking the bank. Every little bit helps the budget when you are raising five kids, right? I hope you have a relaxing Sunday and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My Short Hair Journey of 2014

2014 was the year that I finally had the courage to just go for it. I mean, I had already died my long lovely locks permanent black over a year before because I was very committed to my 2013 Halloween costume...Morticia Addams. If there was ever going to be a "good time" to try out short hair, this was it. After about twenty five years with a similar long hairstyle and at least a whole year of thinking about cutting it all off, it was time to put up or shut up.

I decided I didn't want to shut up. I wanted to do something. I needed...something. Looking back I know now why I did it. It came to me about halfway through this journey. I am always saying no. I am always sacrificing myself for my children and for others...as mothers and many caretakers by nature do. I would not change this about myself ever but I still felt like I had no control, in a way, over anything anymore. Life was getting too heavy and the weight of it was hurting me. By cutting off my hair I was able to feel a kind of freedom that I hadn't had in a very long time. It was almost as if I was being slowly renewed all year long.

Now, I love long hair. It just feels right. When I picture myself for any reason ever...I have long hair. I know down to my core that I will have long white hair when I am an old lady. It is the only way that I can imagine it. But, I have always enjoyed living vicariously through others short hair dos. Other women made it look so cute and effortless. I always thought that with my face shape I would be crazy to try anything too short or drastic with my own hair. But, short hair just looked so darn fun. And if I wanted long hair again someday I should probably hurry up and get it over with so that I would have plenty of time to grow it all back out nice when I'm done playing with it, right?

January 2014

So, here I am, early 2014. My favorite way to wear my hair was a large messy braid to the side just a little. I miss being able to do this so much. I will have it back...but not black. I got that hair color out of my system. Enjoyed it very much though. Made me feel just a little bit more bad ass.

February 28th, 2014

Here is one more just for fun. I like how it was shiny silky straight in this one. Went almost to my chair when I sat. Rockin' the look for my hubby's band gig at Whiskey Junction. 

March 25th, 2014

March 25th, on a Tuesday night, I grabbed a good friend, we went for a shot of liquid courage and then to my (gasp!) hair appointment.

March 25th, 2014

Not that long after...Eek! Enough to donate even. It felt so different and so light. Within one day I could already feel a difference in my neck muscles. A pleasant but unplanned surprise. (And don't look now...But Holy Roots Batman!)

May 2014

About two months later I had my second haircut, about the length to my chin. Went a tiny bit shorter than the first time, which brushed my shoulders. I decided in the beginning to take this whole process as slow as I needed to. I wanted the full experience of short hair but I also didn't want to regret anything and be depressed about my appearance. I mean, come on, as a mother who has birthed five children, there is plenty to be physically unhappy about. I don't need to add my hair to the list. Ha! This second haircut was actually my favorite one from the whole year. It felt closer to the real me compared to all of the other ones...not including my long hair, of course.

August 6th, 2014

I had come that far...and felt braver still. Why not go crazy and expose the back of my neck to the world? This haircut felt fun... and sassy. It only looked this cute for a couple of days though. The amount of time the stylist took in order to make my hair look this good was a little disturbing. I barely have time to brush my teeth every day. There is no way I could keep up with this for any length of time. Seriously. Before this whole short hair escapade my hair maintenance routine was basically to wash it every three days or so and brushing it out after it had dried. Then, keeping the knots and snarls down to a minimum to achieve maximum sexy rock star bed head hair. But, mostly just pulled back in a ponytail or bun because, you know, kids n' stuff.

September 27th, 2014

Now, I was on a roll and feeling rather unstoppable so...bleach blonde happened. Yay! And then I shaved the left side off during the cancer charity benefit I hosted last September for sweet Ashlyne. I am glad that I had already begun my short hair journey by this time because I was able to show my support in this way but also know that if I had still had my long hair, I most likely wouldn't have had the guts to do it for her. Now I had the guts.

October 20th, 2014

Years ago I NEVER would have imagined I would EVER have hair short enough to slick back sexy like Jaime Lee Curtis...but, there I was, getting all dolled up for the Pearl Jam concert with my hubby and thought, "Here's my chance!" I felt like a different woman. And by this time it wasn't just on the outside, but on the inside as well. I had a confidence again. I was getting my groove back. And, I was still so angry with 2014 but, felt like I might just be able to go out kicking. I was...Alive.

November 15th, 2014

Then, November rolled around. The shaved side was starting to grow out a little unevenly and the holidays were right around the corner so...I got one last haircut. One last short do to get me through. Brought the sides closer to a similar length in the hopes that the growing it all back out process goes smoothly. So, there it is.

My journey is complete and I am pleased with the results...not the physical hair results but rather what I gained in knowledge about myself, my strength, my drive. I was not expecting that at all. But what do ya' know? Here I am. A little wiser.

Today January 20th, 2015


By: Pearl Jam

"Son," she said, "Have I got a little story for you
What you thought was your Daddy was nothin' but a
While you were sittin' home alone at age thirteen
Your real Daddy was dyin', sorry you didn't see him but I'm glad we talked"

Oh I, oh, I'm still alive
Hey, I, oh, I'm still alive
Hey I, oh, I'm still alive
Hey, oh

Oh, she walks slowly, across a young man's room
She said, "I'm ready for you"
"I can't remember anything to this very day 'cept the look, the look
Oh, you know where, now I can't see, I just stare"

I'm still alive
Hey I, but, I'm still alive
Hey I, boy, I'm still alive
Hey I, I, I'm still alive, yeah
Ooh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, ooh

"Is something wrong?", she said
Well of course there is, "you're still alive," she said
Oh, and do I deserve to be?
Is that the question? And if so, if so, who answers, who answers?

I, oh, I'm still alive
Hey I, oh, I'm still alive
Hey I, oh I'm still alive
Hey I, oh I'm still alive

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Book Nook Fort

Happy New Year's everyone. Seems every year around the holiday season my life gets so darn busy that I don't get time to write. So many things to say and share but today we are just going to stick to a fun DIY project I did yesterday for my kiddos to brighten up an eyesore from our playroom. A Book Nook Fort!

So, I love the playroom in our new house. It is wonderful to finally have a place where all of their toys belong and that they can play for long stretches of time safely. It has truly changed our daily routine for the better.

That being said, there was one corner that I wasn't happy with and yesterday I fixed it up nice. In the corner I have an old hand-me-down dining room table with the center leaf removed. We no longer needed this table but it didn't sell at my garage sale before we moved last Summer so I decided to hang onto it just in case. It worked pretty well to keep our little TV/VCR combo up high and out of reach of the littles while they watch movies but underneath the table was the one electrical outlet that we use in that room and the twins recently discovered that they could unplug things and it worried me. Here is a before picture of the table in the room.

Lots of fun toys. Lots of bright colors. Ugly brown and black crap in the corner. My solution was to turn that wasted, unattractive and slightly dangerous space into a fun and useful play area. Here is how I did it:

 I moved and repurposed 2 shelves I was already using for their toys in there. I flipped them onto their sides, duct taped them together around the back so that the kids can't pull them down and hurt themselves and then slid the unit under the table and up against the wall. This also helped block the kids' access to the exposed electrical outlet.

I purchased one 16 foot LED Ropelight in white and secured it up under the table top. Cost $12.47.

DJ was so excited and underfoot but it was adorable. I at least waited until the twins were napping to start this project. The Candyland rug she is sitting on was a $2 garage sale find I just couldn't pass up last Summer. It fit perfectly.

I purchased 4 yards of fabric but only ended up needing 3 yards so the cost for fabric used was about $16.00. I had taken the 3 littles along to buy the fabric and we were leaning towards Dinosaurs until we saw this fabric and the twins were so excited because it was just like Nemo. Of course.

I measured underneath the 2 sides of the table and the front section. I left the back of the table facing the wall open for safety and access to the outlet. For the 2 sides I sewed 2 rectangle panels and secured them up under the table with the staple gun. For the front section I sewed 2 panels and purchased a tension rod for $3.47. This way the front panels slide open like curtains.

I think this looks so much better. I also placed a power strip behind the little TV so I do not have to keep crawling under the table anymore whenever I have to switch out plugs for the TV, DVD player, their Lite Brite, and so on. Much more user friendly for me as well.

Total project cost was around $32.50. I could have done it a little cheaper by sticking to a clearance fabric but these fish were too perfect to pass up. I didn't even intend this, but when it is lit up and the curtains are closed, it almost looks like a cute little aquarium too. Bonus!

And then the twins woke up from their nap. I had to take some pictures of them enjoying their new spot.

They realized immediately that they could shut me out. Lol!

A couple old throw pillows and a sippy cup of milk. What more could they want? All in all, a success in my book. Pun intended! Have a wonderful rest of your weekend and happy reading!