Oct 24, 2014

The #Renovations Are Complete! Wait Until You See The Before And Afters... #Havenly #DIY

Remember how I started working with the interior design firm, Havenly, as a brand ambassador to overhaul my big strange front room? I am so excited to report, I'm finished! After three weeks of back breaking scrubbing, spackling, sanding, painting, DIY and renovation nightmares, the dining room, entry way and sitting room are finally ticked off my list! The most amazing thing is after all of that, I'd say I came pretty close to matching the interior designers renderings...


Are you ready for some seriously amazing before and afters? 

Oct 23, 2014

12 Semi-Healthy Halloween Treats, Snacks And Dishes

This weekend, FTD and I are having a kid-friendly Halloween costume party. With this being the little man's first Halloween where he will know what's going on, I decided to have a party to give him a glimpse into what Halloween will be like.  I've decided that if he sees all of his friends in costumes, when he sees the whole freaking world in costumes it won't freak him out as bad. Don't worry, I'll let you know how that theory actually plays out. 

In an effort to go all out and have a super fun halloween party, I have spent the last couple of weeks looking for healthy dishes to serve at the party.  I have arrowed it down to 12 finalist.
 I'll probably make 6?  And then I have a few ideas for some fabulous Halloween inspired dishes! In addition to sharing the photos that inspired me, I have a real Halloween treat for you!  You know those Pinterest "Nailed It" photos, where someone posts what their attempt at something they found on Pinterest actually ended up looking like? I'm going to do it for my party dishes! That's right, I am going to show you just how well I, 'Nailed It', next week. 

Without further Ado... my favorite Semi- Healthy Halloween Treats, Snacks And Dishes...
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Oct 22, 2014

10 Random Things That Make Parenting So Much Easier.

While talking with a girlfriend about all of the contraptions, toys and crap kids want and need to make their life complete, it dawned on us, that some of the most basic random things are all we want need to make our life as a parent complete. Without further ado, today's 'Top 10 Tuesday' is all about 10 Random Things That Make Parenting So Much Easier.


1. A good case for my Smartphone- I know it's probably bad to kick off the list with talk of my phone, but I'll be honest, right now my toddler is OBSESSED with it! Because of that, a good sturdy case has saved my phone on so many occasions. If the kid is not dropping it, or putting sticky finger prints on it, he is smacking it because he is pissed at a game. (We are working on reeling in the latter.)  A good phone case is key in my kingdom. Since my phone is also key in my kingdom for buying 15 minutes of peace and quiet out of my toddler.


2. The ghetto DVD car player- Just because I don't drive a fancy car with a fancy home theater in the back of every headrest and drop down DVD players, doesn't mean I can't get the same effect with a little creativity!  When stuck in traffic or on a long drive, I find Mickey Mouse Club House or Caillou on YouTube, then shove it between the headrest and seat. That way Ollie can see it, but not hold it, which inevitably leads to him screwing it up and begging me to put Mickey back on.


This is a fancy iPad holder.
I still prefer to shove my phone in the space between the headrest and the seat.
It works and it's free.

3. The safe place. Even though the wild-child is old enough to sit in his booster chair at the table without the tray attachment, I still stick him in it for snack time so I can steal a few minutes to get things done, or catch my breath. Plus, if I let him eat in a regular chair he is up and down and up and down... It drives me crazy! The safe place is safe for him to eat, and safe to stay put while I do something around the house. You know there is nothing more dangerous than taking your eyes off a toddler. Especially, mine.

4. The white noise machine. Who knew the sweet little white noise Giraffe I got at my baby shower would still be an essential part of my child's bedtime routine nearly three years later? Mr. Giraffe has been a life saver so many times for getting Ollie to sleep in a noisy house, or just to comfort him with it's soothing noises. I have a feeling we will have Mr. Giraffe for a VERY long time.  In fact, I'd probably cry right along with the kid if we lost him.

5. BABY WIPES! I love baby wipes. FREAKING LOVE THEM! There is no limit to what they can do for me in a day. From cleaning up messes, to wiping down the messy counters in a pinch, to cleaning up my car, to wiping up paint drops when I'm renovating, baby wipes are for WAY more than wiping my kid's butt.

6. Pre-planned activities. Being that my kid has the attention span of a blowfly, in a single day we can go through a ridiculous amount of activities. Anyone with a toddler knows the minute they are board, hell breaks lose. So in an attempt to keep order in my home, I always have back-up activities to do; preferably, things Ollie has never done. I stock up on cheap crafts and busy toddler activities at the dollar store and craft store, so when the kid gets crazy, I can talk him down with a paint by numbers. Works every time!


7. Child's day out program. I would be SO freaking lost without my two-day a week break from my toddler. For three GLORIOUS hours a twice a week, Ollie is at church playing, coloring and learning, while I am doing whatever I want. #Bliss #Fabulous #ThankYouJesus #WouldLoseMyShitWithoutIt 

8. The greatest invention ever, the Magic Eraser! My house would look like a toddler run shithole without those magic little white sponges. Between Ollie's art projects with my make-up, to crayon on daddy's brand new TV, to PB&J smeared on EVERYTHING, to even Sharpie on my ugly ass counter tops....the Magic Eraser never ceases to amaze me.



9. Playdates. I LOVE playdates. For the hour or so that the playdate is going on, my kid plays happily with his friend, while I chat with my friend. It's so much easier for me to have another kid over, than just having Ollie. When it's just us, he needs ALL of my attention. When his playdate is over, I might as well be meatloaf. He could care less about what I am doing. I get to sit on the couch chatting away while he plays happily at my feet with his little friend. If I could, I would have a playdate daily.

10. The Reset Button.  Above all, the greatest thing is the Mommy Reset Button. When I'm at the end of my rope, I hit it HARD! What is it you ask?  It's a night out with my girlfriends! When it's over, I feel refreshed and amazing! Here is a photo from the last time I SMASHED the reset button... (Read all about it, here.)


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Oct 21, 2014

Halloween Humor Even Your Dog Will Laugh At...

With all of the spooktastic Hallowen stuff going around, I thought I would lighten the mood with some mostly funny, yet slightly disturbing and completely tasteless Halloween humor... 


Halloween Jokes:



Q. Why couldn’t the mummy attend the meeting?
A. He was all tied up
Q. Why did the ghost go into the bar?
 A. For the Boos
Q. Why is a ghost such a messy eater?
 A. Because he is always a goblin
Q. Why couldn’t the skeleton go to the dance?
 A. Because he had no body to take
Q. Why wouldn’t the skeleton cross the road?
 A. Because he didn’t have any guts
Q. What kind of makeup do ghosts wear?
 A. Mas-scare-a
Q. What do ghosts put on their morning cereal? A. Booberries.
Q.  What is the problem with two twin witches? A. You never know which witch is which!
Q. What Do Witches Use To DO Their Hair? A. Scare Spray

Halloween Pets: 





LOVE IT!

Five bucks says they pissed in every bed and shoe in the house for payback.





Halloween Crack: 




I see it!
Am I going to hell now?  


HALLOWEEN CARDS: 






Halloween Cartoons






And finally... I'm not sure what to call it... Other than JACKED UP!





HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
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Oct 20, 2014

Pinrose: Are You A Renegade Starlet or Rooftop Socialite? Take The Quiz...

I'll just go ahead and tell you what I am, A Renegade Starlet, and proud of it!  Thanks to PINROSE,  the new fragrance company that's being featured on nearly every media outlet for being so awesome, I'm not only a Renegade Starlet, smell like one too!

If only the Internet was Scratch 'n Sniff, YOU WOULD LOVE ME...


I have a confession to make, I LOVE Quizzes in beauty magazines. I take every single one I come across. So when PINROSE reached out for a review, and told me I needed to take a quiz to find my fragrance match, I was ALL ABOUT IT!

After answering a few fun questions, PINROSE uses what's called "Synesthesia" to find my personal scents...
It worked, because I ended up loving every single one,
and am now OBSESSED with Renegade Starlet!

In order to fully facilitate a review, PINROSE sent me a complete set of their scents in the form of  "Petal Packs".



Since I had so many left over, I called over two of my girlfriends to help me with the review!  I had both take the Quiz to find their scents, and between the three of us, we only over lapped on one scent, so it was a lot of fun to test all of the scents out together.

If you are throwing a girl party, I HIGHLY recommend buying a couple of complete petal packs ($7) and have a Pinrose quiz party.



Something else that really adds to the fun, is each petal card has a super fun description of the scent on the back...


LOVE THIS!! I  totally think I am playful, sweet, confident... Love a good Cosmo and damn right I wanna dance all night long!

Once you find your favorite scent, you can order the fragrance by the fluid ounce, and/or buy a bunch of petal packs! Such a cool idea.

I'm sure my work here is done... Who wants to take the Quiz???  Click the button below!




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MAYDAY! The Toddler Is Filterless...

Oh you all, it's happened... My two-year-old is saying WHATEVER comes to his mind. Which, is extra scary since, FTD is his father and teaches him all kinds of nonsense that he is repeating. Remember the Dog Eggs incident? Every time the kid opens his mouth in public now, I hold my breath and brace myself. The toddler is absolutely filterless...
Unfortunately at only two,
he has a long way to go to fully grasping social etiquette.

I should have known I was going to be in trouble when two weeks ago he pointed to a bald man walking by and yelled, "LOOK NO HAIR LIKE DADDY!" These unsolicited comments have only ramped up and become more random.

Needless to say, I'm terrified now anytime someone asks him a question... I mean full-on butt cheek clenching, breath holding, escape route ready, TERRIFIED.

The other day we boarded the train at the zoo, and when the train conductor came by and greeted Ollie and I, Ollie replied with, "I'm going home for sleepy-time, because it's sleepy-time after the train." I nearly died! We hadn't even talked about it. Granted, we frequently will ride the train at the end of our visit to the zoo, because the stop for it is by the exit. Still, out of nowhere he offered that bit of info?

What really did me in was while we were sitting on the floor playing he let out an impressive fart for a 2-year-old, then announced:
"HA! I just farted. It came out of my butt and went into my pants. HAHAHA! Did you hear it? It filled my pants!"

Of course I tried my best not to laugh, because in a way he was actually trying to be matter-of-fact, and I needed to let him know that announcement was not necessary.  But then, much to my horror, when the FedEx guy showed up at the door a couple of minutes later, Ollie announced to him while I was signing:
"I just filled my pants with a fart. It was SO funny! My butt said, <Insert loud slobbery toddler fart noise>."
OMG!

Of course the guy laughed... I blushed, and shut the door.

This filterless sharing is becoming increasingly scary. I now live in fear wondering what he will say next, and to whom!

Clearly, nothing is off limits, and since he is clueless about 85% of social etiquette standards, I kind of have to let it play out to teach him. Anyone with a toddler will tell you, the minute I try to cover bases and tell him that he should not talk about this or that before the fact, he will run to the first person he sees and start repeating everything I told him not too, especially if he thought it was funny.


As if I thought it couldn't get any worse, I've had a few friends with older children warn me that this is really only the beginning, and that this phase of unsolicited sharing goes on for years.

YEARS.

One friend said her seven year old is still over sharing!

Five more years of my kid over-sharing? With a father like FTD instilling a wicked sense of humor and out-of-the-box way of seeing the world?

Yeah, I'm screwed.

Is your kid over-sharing? Please, let me know I am not along in this butt cheek clenching terror.
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The Chibebe Snuggle Pod... The Infant To Toddler Game Changer

Yet again, a product has been brought to my attention that I wish I had when my son was an infant.  The Chibebe Snuggle Pod is the COOLEST infant to toddler invention I have seen in a long time.  It's now officially my go-to shower gift...



When Chibebe reached out to me to conduct a review of the the Snuggle Pod, I took one look at it and said, YES, PLEASE!  I mean look at it!  How cool... an infant to toddler beanbag pod that covers ALL of the bases!  Wait until you see all it offers...

LOVE THIS!!!

Chibebe has really thought of everything, and knowing the constantly changing needs of the infant through toddler years, they have made all the accessories easily interchangeable.



Being that my sister in-law has both a two-year-old and an infant, I let her to the heavy testing. I was most interested in seeing how the Chibebe Snuggle Pod worked with a baby. Every new parent knows the importance of a great baby "docking station"!



Just as I thought, she agreed that she wished she had the pod during the newborn days as well, since the angle of the pod is perfect for keeping an infant semi-upright to watch the world around him, sand of course, keep him in place with the harness.

Her toddler LOVES the Chibebe Snuggle Pod too while reading or watching TV. I truly love that it is something that will last more than a few months like most infant/toddler things. I also love that every bit of it is machine washable. Between the rocker base and easy portability to and from grandma's house, this pod is a serious game changer.

The Chibebe Snuggle Pod is fully customize the from cover, to base, to even the rocker accessory color!



BUY IT: 
FREE SHIPPING in Australia, with International shipping available for everyone else! 
 Use Code: "FIRST" for 25% off Orders of $99+
To start customizing your Chibebe Snuggle Pod, CLICK HERE.  

CONNECT: 
Follow Chibebe on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter for updates and promotions!



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Oct 17, 2014

Tips For Dealing With Potty-Training Regression

Just when I think the kid is ready to trade the diapers for big boy pants, he pees on me. Twice...

I just don't get it, he seemed so happy to use the potty, now he wants very little to do with it.

Gone are the days of him asking to use it.
Gone are the days of him going to the potty 100% of the time when I let him run around diaper-free.
Gone are the days of me feeling like I have ANY control over the situation.

DAMMIT!

I am so sick of diapers!

Unfortunately, my toddler is not.



I was so sure things were going in the right direction. I was so sure I was on my way to cutting diapers out of the budget. But then again, I was foolish enough to think he would be out of diapers by is second birthday. The wild-child is now two years and eight months old, and coincidentally, I feel like we are two years and eight months from him being potty trained.


It's true, when you push a toddler to potty-train--especially a boy--you are essentially pushing in the wrong direction. Knowing this, I haven't really pushed him, but more like, kindly encouraged him to use the potty, and still it backfired!

Speaking of backfiring, he runs off to the bathroom or an empty room to crap his pants now! THE KID HIDES! I know it's not a direct slap in the face, but it's a little annoying since he KNOWS it's coming, yet still refuses to use the toilet.

WHAT THE HELL??

There must be something to it. He is a super smart kid. He knows what he needs to do, and still won't! To add insult to injury, when I ask him why he hides, or why he won't use the potty, I get a blank stare. Even though I tell him not to worry, and that I love him, inside I am screaming, SHIT IN THE POTTY KID! DOOOOO IT!!!!!!

I reached out to my community and did a little research on potty training regression and found a few good tips; some new, some old...

1. Show him that his turds rival an elephant's. One mom said, her daughter's poops were the size of bananas, so one day she showed her... "I spelled it out: 'Your poop is too big for a diaper. It needs to go in the toilet.' It was a start."'

2. Stay positive and respectful. Completely giving up is not the way to stop making him feel pressured. I need to stay consistent and offer potty breaks regularly. If he takes me up on one, then I GO WILD with praise and excitement!  If he doesn't, be patient because he will eventually. 

3. Chart the Shart! So many people swear by potty charts. I bought supplies for a 'potty chart' craft project this week. If these charts are so great, maybe letting Ollie be a part of it's creation will really make the thing work.

4. Easy killer, this is not about you, it's about a MAJOR change for a toddler. I'm feeling like I need a slap, because for the hundredth time, I've been told to wait it out. One mom said, "It wasn't until he was 3, and then he got it in two minutes. It was on his timeline and it worked for us!"

 PLEASE, LORD... Let my son figure it out in 3-minutes!!!! PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! 

I wouldn't say the little man is in a full potty-training regression, but he is certainly not moving forward. As much as I want to throw a tantrum over this, I understand this is not about me-- or him messing with me--it's about a big confusing scary change for my toddler.  

He is going to be just like every other child in the history of children, he will go when he is damn well good and ready; all I can do is give him the tools and encouragement he needs to make it happen.




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I'm NEVER Painting With Oil Based Paint Again! #DIY #Dumbasery (1920's Renovation Update)

If you've ever painted even one brushstroke of oil based paint on your wall/door/trim, then you know, IT SUCKS!  It is thick, stinky, takes FOREVER to dry, shows every freaking brush stroke, and when you go to clean it off your paint brush and body, you burn yourself with a Magic Eraser! Ok, maybe not the Magic Eraser part, because who else could pull off such an epic feat of DIY dubassery than the queen of DIY Dumbassery herself, me.


Let's kick this weekend's 1920's House Renovation and DIY Update off with the bad news...


OIL BASED PAINT SUCKS!

Being the complete novice painter that I am, I had no idea painting latex based paint over oil based stain would cause a HUGE mess and headache.

Nothing like learning the hard way...

I should have known when the first coat of latex paint went on so smooth and easy, something was wrong. The second coat actually PULLED off the first coat.

DIY Dumbassery Tip #1: Latex paint does not stick to oil based anything.

DIY Dumbassery Tip #2: When you run into a situation where you have to use oil based paint, proceed with extreme caution.


The oil paint was thick and messy and near impossible to wipe off unless I got the drip or drop up immediately. Thank you baby wipes!

DIY Dumbassery Tip #3: DO NOT try to wash the paint off your brush with water... or a magic eraser.

 WHAT A MESS!

Imagine my surprise when I put the oil paint soaked paintbrush under the running water in my kitchen sink, only to have the paint transfer to my hands, AND STAY THERE!  Holy crap, my hands looked like I had white gloves on. I tried soap, scrub, panicking... none proved effective at getting the paint off. Frustrated, I threw the paint brush away and grabbed a Magic Eraser sitting near by. To my delight, it started taking the paint off my hands and arm. Then, my arm started burring.  It dawned on me that I was probably not supposed to use this magic piece of cleaning miracle on my skin.  Sure enough, I have a burn.  FAIL!

I yelled MAYDAY! and thankfully my mom answered her phone and told me to use mineral spirits to clean the rest of the paint off my hands.

It worked like a charm!

Still, the oil based paint mess remained on my window trim...

Damn that stuff!  It smells and takes FOREVER to dry. Thankfully, I have two windows and a small length of base board to paint with the paint.

I love my old house, there are surprises around every corner.  In one room, four windows have been painted with brown latex paint to some how match the two that are still the original stained oak.

**Which, that's an entire other post.... Strip or paint: The hundred year old oak trim restoration nightmare. 

Moving on to the Good news!

I got the rug to tie the sitting area together.

For those just joining, quick recap:

I've partnered with a Havenly, an online "eDesign" firm to help me renovate my front room.  Here's the room and designer renderings.


The room is nearly finshihed!!  All that's left is finishing the oil paint touch ups, adding some design accents and lighting the fire!  The final post will be up next Friday!! But here is a sneak peak on the rug and how perfectly it matches the walls!!!



Next, a lawn update... Recap: I'm working with TruGreen to OVERHUAL my lawn. They killed the entire lawn since 90% was weeds and clover, then power seeded to give me a brand new lawn! All of this was done a month ago. The lawn is about 70% filled in. Hopefully in two weeks I will have that final post up!!



For those of you who asked me to post an update about the Blue Fir we were desperate to save, but weren't sure it was possible...



Good News!!

Why yes, FTD did tie a mummy to the tree.  

It's thriving and happy as can be!
All it took was LOTS of food and TLC.
FTD and I spent the summer lovingly tending to it's recovery from years of neglect. 
The first step was to cut off the dead branches, but only up to 6ft at the most.
Luckily, that was enough to make it happy almost instantly!
Our tree guy said it is doing really well, and free from disease!
I'm not sure who I am more proud of, FTD and I, or the tree...

LAST, I have a HUGE and exciting announcement... you'll have to wait for next Friday update...
No! I am not pregnant.
  
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Oct 16, 2014

I'm Trying To Get In A Lifetime Of Hugs In Less Than Five Years.

There is absolutely nothing I love more than cuddling with my son. I love holding him close and smelling his sweet baby scent. I love the way my heartbeat slows and my entire body fills with beautiful energy. It's pure momma lovin' bliss. What's not momma lovin' bliss, is knowing soon my son will be totally grossed out by the thought of sitting in his mommy's lap for cuddle time.

<Insert momma meltdown>



When I think about this loss of cuddle time, I find myself holding my son a little tighter, and for longer. I find myself trying to get a lifetime of hugs in before he turns five.


It's total crap that I only get a short time in my son's life to hold him tight for as long as I want. It's not fair that the beautiful moments of affection we share throughout the day, will be gone before I know it. I'm dreading the day I go to hug my son, only to get the the hand out stopping me followed by, "Mom! Gross."

Damn that day!

It seems like five was the magical age for my nephews to not want to be held during movies, or happily hug me when I came and went. Now, at 7 and 8 years old, they run like hell when they see me coming for hugs and kisses. Not that it stops me from chasing them all over the house and then clobbering them with hugs and kisses when I catch them. Sadly, I know this will be gone soon too.  Soon, it will be creepy of me to chase them for cuddles. I will have no choice but to learn to love the ass out hugs, and take them when I can get them.

I know this will be the case with my son at some point too.

I think about how it must suck even worse for dads, since their time to hug and cuddle seems to be cut even shorter. I might be wrong, but it does seem like after four, my nephews were only going to their dad for comfort after a fall, or fight with their sibling. Whereas before, they would crawl in daddy's lap whenever it was free.

 I know it will kill FTD; he loves cuddling with Ollie as much as I do.
                                             
While I know I will not go hug-less after my son's fifth birthday, the cuddles will slow down and become few and far between as he gets older. In order to not completely go mental over this, everyday I try to get in a lifetime of cuddles, kisses and hugs. Everyday, on many many many occasions, I hold my son tight and tell him I love him, so in a few years when he is completely grossed out by momma cuddles, I will know I didn't waste one chance to experience one of the most beautiful gifts of motherhood; holding my child tight and telling him how much I love him.
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