Apr 22, 2014

5 Important DIY Tips For First-Timers

This weekend was my first crash course in DIY.  While I did love it, and the instant gratification was awesomeness, the work was not always fun, or easy. That being said, while I was was up on a ladder with pieces of ceiling falling on my head, I began making a mental list of lessons for you my dear readers, so not only can I warn you about the perils and triumph of parenting, I can now warn you about the perils and triumph of DIY!  Behold, my 5 greatest lessons learned about DIY so far.

                                               

1. DIY requires the whole-ass.  There is no half-ass on a good DIY job. There is no slap on spackle, quick sand and paint. Oh, No. It's fill the damn hole, wait for the spackle (aka. Damn Hole Filler Stuff) to dry, THEN sand it. THEN wipe the dust away. THEN paint.  I have to admit, it does look much better when you take the time to read the directions (or for me, listen to FTD). Again, no half-assing DIY.

Apr 21, 2014

OH. NO! What If He Stays Like This Forever?

I have learned so many things during in my two short years of parenting. One of them being, you take the good with the bad, and be thankful for your blessing... no matter how spirited. 

I hate to say it, but I wish my boy was just a little more... cautious? calm? I'm not sure of the word, because I do love him so much and am so proud of him, but sometimes, I wish he would take it down a notch or twenty. Ever since I can remember my kid has been running from me.  Fearlessly turning corners well before me, running and hiding in stores he has never been in, climbing every stair and ladder he comes across, and then trying to jump off. And while I am so thankful for his abilities and sturdiness on his feet, it's challenging being the mother of the kid who is so busy on his feet.
18-months-old. PEACE OUT, MOMMY!
It bugs the crap out of me that it's next to impossible to hold him for two minutes while I have a conversation with an adult. Or when I turn away for thirty seconds I find him trying to do a cannonball off the back of the couch, or combing up then jumping from retaining walls that are two feet high,. Yes, I am so proud of his athletic abilities and fearlessness--to a certain degree.  It's just that I wish this wild and fearless behavior was not what seems to be 95% of the time!

Just yesterday, FTD and I met the greatest couple with a little boy who is 6-months older than Ollie.  Instantly we all became fast friends. Which, is surprising since the majority of the time I was chasing or reprimanding Ollie, or when I stopped for a brief moment to talk, having to explain why I was not chasing him three yards away or yelling NO! While,it was very embarrassing, after a year of dealing with his "spirited" nature, I'm used to just smiling through the insanity. Plus, I have learned to choose my battles, and not chase after him since it usually proves fruitless. It jus sucked that the whole time her little boy was within arms reach of her, and sweet as can be.  I couldn't help but be a little jealous.

This was taken on his 1st birthday!
Already hauling ass. 
Since clearly my kid never runs out of steam, I cannot help but wonder, what if this is not a toddler phase... What if my kid is a wild ass daredevil for the rest of his life? What if I am raising the next Evil Knievel? Seriously, what if this is not a phase, but only a warm-up of what's to come?

I really don't have any desire to be the mom on the playground begging her son to get down from the roof of the school, or explaining that trying to jump a bike from one roof to another because they look close enough to do it, is a bad decision. More or less, I don't want to spend the rest of my life saying, NO! or begging my kid to not jump off the roof in make shift bird wings.
It took him 3 seconds to get up there. 

Truthfully, the hardest part of all of this, is trying to figure out how to parent him through this. Do I yell no all of the time an make him walk next to me, even if that does mean one of those backpack leashes, or do I let him run ahead and climb the stairs?  Sometimes I think I should just be full-on mean mom for as long as it takes to make him walk next to me and not climb on things, but then I wonder if I am being overly sensitive. Sometimes, when I am positive he is being psycho toddler, an employee at a store will say, Oh no, he is actually really good. You should see the kids who come through here.




I try hard to remind myself that he is two, and nuts... and full of wild happy energy... and a love for life, and that's an AWESOME thing. And yes, as much as it makes me a little crazed at times, I would not want to inhibit his abilities and natural happiness to make my life a little easier. All I know for sure, I hope this really is a phase and that eventually he will run ahead a little less, climb fewer things, and jump from lower structures, and hopefully all of this happens before I rip out all of my hair and lose my mind.


Don't forget to check out the post and giveaway from this weeks Sponsor... Messy Marvin!


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Messy Marvin: The Classy Way To Deal With Life's Little Messes! #Giveaway

Messy Marvin provided me with products free of charge to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own. As if.


Some days I am sure all I do is pend the day cleaning up custom made toddler mess.  From juice on the couch, to breakfast sprayed all around his highchair, to left over lunch smashed into his school bag. Plain and simple, my toddler is a mess factory. So when Messy Marvin contacted me to facilitate a review of their products manufactured using custom fabrics that are waterproof, wipeable, rinseable and stain repellent, I said, Yes, Please.  Oh, p.s. they are designed by an interior designer, so they are all super cute too! 


One of my favorite features of the Messy Marvin line, is the neutral color combinations. I appreciate the classiness of the Messy Marvin. I don't need blue robots and green frogs on everything baby boy. The colors and the clean lines allow for extended use past the baby and toddler stages. That being said, classy doesn't mean crap when it's not functional. So, before I got all excited about the new dipper bag being sent my way,    I waited to see if the claims were really true...

They were... and then some! I'm so in love with this bag. I carry it everywhere...


First and foremost it is sturdy as can be!  It's so sturdy it stands alone! The base is strong and large.  The inner pockets are deep enough to hold bottles of cold water and truly waterproof since they do not let any spills or condensation through to my other stuff. The seat belt straps are stylish and so strong!  I am pretty sure I could carry Ollie around in this bag!  I also love that the straps have a clasp  for easy attachment to the stroller. No one is taking my bag! There is a super strong magnet at the top that keeps the bag closed, even when it falls off the backseat and should let everything come crashing out!  LOVE THIS BAG!

Ok, back to the real issue at hand, messy messes.  As you can see the 'fabric' is a woven material. It's the craziest stuff!  It's soft to the touch, but durable and repellent of just about anything.  It's like a soft plastic. I cannot explain it. I was sure stuff would get stuck, but the coating is like a sheet of invisible plastic covering. SO CRAZY!   





Just like the bag, the placements were super cute from an interior design point of view, but the way I explained it to FTD, they are like fancy drop cloths. They catch all, and then with one wipe over the garbage bin, it's like they were never used in the first place.  Plus, they are sturdy, so picking them up and carrying them full of food was not a scary thing. 

Here are some facts about the Messy Marvin Line: 

  • Fabric made from a 100% lead-free polyester with a water and stain repellent coating.
  • No laundering needed, simply wipe or rinse--dries almost immediately when blotted with towel. Even ketchup and mustard don't stand a chance!
  • Furniture covers have a solid polyester suede backing to not only protect your furniture, but also keep the covers in place.
  • Custom Messy Marvin fabric is available by the yard to make custom covers and designs. 
  • Products available for furry friends too. 

My friends, the Messy Marvin line of products is so cool. I have no doubt they will win a crap load of awards at the kids innovation fairs next year.  



To check out the full Messy Marvin line, CLICK HERE!

Feeling lucky?  Two will win... the first gift is a diaper bag in blue, the second is two place mats and a chair cover! Sign up below...

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Apr 18, 2014

I Just Want To Hold On To This Moment...

I'm not sure if it was me going away this past weekend, or what, but I am clinging to my child like a magnet on a refrigerator.  Everyone said it would be him behaving like that after a weekend away, but it's not him, it's me!  I just want to hold him and smother him with hugs and kisses. I keep finding myself staring and smiling at my son.  My beautiful, kind, articulate, amazing little son. "Little" being the operative word.  I see him now in all of his 2-year-old three-foot glory, and know it will not last long. For some reason, now more than ever, I want to hold tight to each moment and memorize every little finger, toe and eyelash.
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Apr 17, 2014

Have I Ever Told You About My One Food Obsession? #DeliFreshBOLD

This sponsored post was written while participating in my partnership with Oscar Mayer and One2One Network, but as always, all opinions are my own. I received Deli Fresh BOLD coupons and other related items from Oscar Mayer/Kraft Foods



I know it's not good to have food obsessions, and for the most part I don't, but when it comes to sandwiches, I am a little food obsessed. I love love love sandwiches of all types, sizes, shapes and flavors. I even have special sandwich combos I make with special sauces depending on my mood. I drive FTD crazy with the obsession, because not only do I eat a fancy sandwich for lunch nearly everyday, I make him eat one too! 
The Essential Sandwich crafting kit:
1. Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh BOLD Lunchmeat
2. A secret sauce sandwich spreader
3. Sandwich food art book for inspiration
3. Reusable sandwich bags. #GoGREEN
4. A large cutting board/work surface to make sandwich art!
FYI: Oscar Mayer created a line of lunch meats for me! OK. Fine. They were not created for me specifically, but... quite the coincidence that they created the perfect selection of bold flavors to kick my already stellar sandwiches up a notch... The line of meats is called "Deli Fresh BOLD", and it's super YUM! 


In addition to the already yummy BOLD flavors at your local grocery store, four new BOLD flavors have been added!


  • Italian Style Herb Turkey Breast
  • Cajun Style Turkey Breast
  • Maple Honey Ham
  • Chipotle Season Chicken Breast

  • Each package contains no artificial preservatives, no artificial flavors, are gluten free AND are 97% Fat Free!


    OK, back to me and my love o' the sandwich. Today in an attempt to dazzle you with my sandwich crafting skills, I am going to share one of my absolute favorite sandwich recipes. The Pesto Italian! 


    Here is what you will need to recreate the masterpiece...
    1. Great bread--soft or crunchy Italian
    2. Oscar Mayer BOLD Italian Style Herb Turkey
    3. MozzarellaProvolone or your favorite cheese.
    4. The usual suspects: Lettuce, Tomato & Red Onion
    5. The secret sauce- Lite Mayo and pesto mixed together to form a yummy pesto aioli! 


     YUM!  
    If you look close, you can see the turkey is covered in the perfect amount of Italian Style Herbs. That's where that fabulous BOLD flavor comes from! Amazing... all that flavor and no artificial flavors, preservatives, or gluten! And at 97% fat free, go ahead and add guilt free to the list! 

    Have I already said, Yum? Because, YUM!


    Are you a sandwich lover? What's your favorite sandwich? 

    For more BOLD ideas, Check out the Oscar Mayer Website and follow Oscar Mayer on Twitter and Facebook!


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    Sometimes, Parenting Is The Worst Part About Being A Parent.

    Parenting is hard. Very Hard. And sometimes, it's the worst part about being a parent. It sucks constantly saying, NO! or Don't Touch that! or That's Not For You! or the thousands of other things I have to say and do that are not particularly fun, in order to raise a future upstanding member of society.


    Sure, anyone can be a parent, but not everyone is good at parenting...

    Parenting is a constant job you do for the rest of your life (hopefully). It takes a ridiculous amount of selflessness, patience and unconditional love. It also takes a great deal of forgiveness of both your child and yourself, to even come close to surviving with your sanity. Good parenting means making sacrifices and understanding that your child comes first more times than not.  Good parenting is equal parts unconditional love, tough love, guidance, structure and understanding.  Sometimes that balance is so hard to achieve

    While talking with a childless friend, she was telling me how much she loves being an Aunt. She gets to pick her niece and nephew up, spoil them rotten, shower them with love and affection, and then return them to her sister at the end of the day. Because of this, she has this idea of parenting that is WAY off! Fortunately for her, all she sees are these two happy, mostly well-behaved easy going children. She doesn't have to see the truly ugly side of having children.  The crankiness. The illnesses that keep you up all night. The constant battle of good nutrition. The never-ending 'NOs!' and redirection. She doesn't have to be the meany.  That's what the parents are for.

    Of course, I love being a mom.  I love the rewards that come along with it.  I love the kisses and smiles and sweet hugs. I love the good times and relish in them.  That being said,  I hate the bad times, when it's my job to be the mean one, or the days when it seams my son's naughty switch is stuck in the 'ON' position. I hate when I know if I do not lay down the rules and uphold them through consequences then my son will grow up to be a shit.



    I try my best to not get too caught up in the bad behavior and days I feel like I am saying NO! all day.  I try my best to remind myself that great parenting, no matter how hard it is at times, leads to great children. Oh yes, parenting can certainly suck and seem like the hardest job in the world at times, but like with everything else, hard work eventually pays off... which will hopefully lead to a wonderful child that, thanks to my great parenting, is not a complete terror with no boundaries. At least, that's the plan...

    So for those of you out there that, like me, feel like some days you are constantly reprimanding and wanting to rip your hair out, those days are the ones that will eventually lead to proud moments later in life, when your child is a well-mannered, articulate and kind member of society. (Dammit, they better be!)

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    Bring on Mother's Day!

    Fun Fact: My birthday sometimes falls on Mother's Day. Thankfully, it's not this year.  

    Growing up, I never minded when my birthday fell on Mother's day.  I always felt like my birthday was a celebration for my mother too.  But, now that I am a mom, no freaking way do I want to combo the only two days out of the year I get to sleep-in and have breakfast in bed! 




    Another strange realization I had when I became a mother, was that what I want for Mother's Day is vastly different than what I expected. I want to relax, put my feet up, maybe do a little shopping, take a nap, eat a cupcake, take a quiet stroll through the neighborhood... you know, anything but spend my day hip-to-hip with my child. That's right, I said it, for Mother's day I want to spend the majority of the day alone.  Who knew? I was sure Mother's Day was all about spending every waking minute with my mom!

    Dear Mom, I totally get it now... sorry I insisted on coming with you shopping, going for that walk  and demanding half your cupcake... whoops.  Love, April

    For me, a stay-at-home-mom, 365 days out of the year I am hip-to-hip with my child, so when someone says to me, "It's your day! What do you want to do?" Of course I am going to think of things, *I* want to do! I want to sleep, read a good book, shop without chasing a toddler, go for a walk where I don't have to stop every two feet to watch my child pick up or poke something with a stick, I want to eat a cupcake... I want to just enjoy the day on my terms, not a toddlers. 

    Of course it never plays out like that, and truthfully it shouldn't. Mother's Day is as much for my son and husband, as it is for me. It's a day to let me family show their appreciation for me. It's a day to let them shower me with the Best Mother's Day gifts they can find.  It's a day to spend together as a family having fun, because after all, with out them I would not be a mother!

    And so, in a couple of weeks, when FTD and Ollie bust into my bedroom carrying my ceremonial Mother's Day breakfast in bed, I will graciously accept it and then ask, "So, What do you two have planned for us today?!"



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    PUHSH-- Bringing Mutual Friends Together One Sale At A Time

    This post is sponsored. All Opinion are my own. As if.

    No doubt by the time your first child is 3-months-old you are sick of looking at all of the stuff you HAD to have, that in the end, you only used once or twice, or worse, never. Then to add insult to injury, there is even more stuff that you have to have... that you know deep down you will only use once or twice, so the thought of paying full price makes you ill.  So, now you have a pile of stuff that's basically brand new you do not need, AND a pile of stuff that you need but don't want to pay full price for since you know you will barely use it. Naturally, you want to sell the stuff to afford new stuff, but those baby consignment shops insult you with prices, and Craigslist strangers are the reason it's called "Stranger Danger," so you look for other opportunities... Well, what if I told you a new app would allow you to buy, sell with friends and friends of friends? I'm happy to introduce PUHSH! The only app that hooks you up with friends and friends of friends, to buy, sell all you stuff!


    So what exactly is PUHSH?  In the words of the creators.
    "Puhsh is a fast and fun way to buy and sell stuff locally. It’s a revolutionary solution to the overly complicated world of Online Garage Sales, Facebook Swapping Groups, and anonymous Craigslist Ads."

    Here is a short video to really show how this 'revolutionary' app works!

                    



    Ok, I LOVE the idea of just transferring money, then setting the sweater outside my front door for pick up... how incredibly convenient. I also like the idea of meeting other parents in my area who are friends of friends with kids the same age/size as mine.  I mean, it's going to take the right person to love my favorite outfit of Ollie's. Not to mention, I will know instantly that person and I should be friends... You all know the outfit I am talking about...

    Those Pants are EPIC! 


    Quick Recap...

    It's actually really simple...
    1. Download the app.
    2. Login with Facebook.
    3. Load your items for sale.
    4. Browse for Awesomeness while you wait for your stuff to sell.
    5. Look for friends and mutual friends already selling their stuff. 
    6. Make Money and find the things you need at a price that doesn't make you want to throw up!

    Easy!


    To download on the App Store-CLICK HERE
    To Download on Google Play- CLICK HERE
    To visit the website for more information-CLICK HERE 



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    Apr 16, 2014

    The Boy Who Cried: POO POOS, MOMMY!

    Potty training... ugh!  Ever since that first, "Mommy! Potty!" I have had my eye on the prize-- a diaper free existence. Too bad no matter how hard I keep my eye on the prize, it all hinges on the whim of a two-year-old.  A two-year-old with a raging case of the boy who cried, POO POOS, MOMMY! And yes, that means what you are thinking, just like the boy who cried WOLF! for all the wrong reasons, my toddler cries POO POOS! for all the wrong reasons...

                                                    
    I dream of the day I only use diapers as redneck coasters.


    When my kid yells anything that has to do with going to the potty, I jump up, grab him and run to the nearest potty. Doesn't every parent desperate to get out of diapers?? Too bad, my son has figured out that he can control me, and his ability to choose whether or not he wants to do something simply by saying those three magic words, Poo poos, mommy...

    Yes, he calls everything that comes out, poo poos. I learned this the hard way when he said the three magic words that got us up and running to the potty, because unfortunately once he was de-diapered and ready for the potty, he jumped in the bathtub and immediately peed, all while laughing and saying, Look! Poo poos, mommy!  Of course, I try to correct him, but in his stubborn toddler ways, he still calls it what he wants.

    Sorry, I digress...

    Back to the magic words.

    It's now been two months since that first successful trip to the potty, and while I wish I could say there have been many more successful trips, there have not. What has been successful, is Ollie learning that if he says he needs to go potty, regardless of wether or not he really has too, we will let him stop doing what ever he doesn't want to do immediately.  What's worse, we have no choice in the matter.  If the kid says, potty, there is no room for discussion. There is no, "Are you sure you need to go potty?" I know, I have asked and got a, Yep. Potty!  And no big surprise, I get nothing but a happy boy streaking through the house.

    I recently spoke with a few been-there-done-that parents about this, and all agreed, if I want to potty train the kid I need to make it my number one focus. As in, spend two weeks making it my job by constantly staying on top of it. Which includes, letting Ollie run around the house free balling and peeing everywhere until he understands the sensation, and then where to go once he feels it coming on.

    You all, SUCK! SUCK! SUCK! SUCK!  (Please feel free to replace all preceding "Ss" with "Fs" to make it read truer.

    I have no desire to let this kid poop and pee all over the house... any more than he already does!  I also have no desire to spend the next year or so jumping every time my kid yells, POO POOS, Mommy. Especially when it is just to get out of going to sleep or any other activity he has no desire doing. I spoke with his Parent's Day Out teacher and she said this crying potty-wolf was completly normal... All kids do it. Somehow, I do feel so much better knowing I'm not the only parent chasing a streaker.

    So, clearly I am stuck between a free balling potty free for all, and a year of running to the potty for no reason. Not really sure what to do...  What are you doing?


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