Thursday, November 13, 2014

24 Hours in the Life of a 2 1/2 Year Old...AKA "Why the Toddler is Crying"

I have a two and a half year old now!  It's hard to believe.  I never thought that my sweet, adorable cuddly little bundle of joy would turn into a fire-breathing monster precocious youngster. The only thing that balances it out is how cute he is:

His latest means of expressing himself has been to throw screaming tantrums.  These happen multiple times a day.  He cries and refuses to cooperate.  Sometimes he kicks and flails.  Other times he will throw himself onto the floor and scream into it.  I am sure our downstairs neighbors just LOVE this.

So, to get to the root of the problem, I made a list of the reasons why he was crying for 24 hours.  Here is the list:

  1. I changed his poopy diaper.  God forbid he smell fresh.  It might ruin his image.
  2. His sister is playing with a plastic toy cat and he wants it.  NOW.  We have approximately 75,319,004 toys in the house but at this moment this is the only toy that exists to him.
  3. "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" is only playing on two of the three televisions in the house.  Oh the horror.
  4. I put dinosaur pajama pants on him.  He wanted his baseball pants.  
  5. He doesn't like the Duggars.  "19 Kids and Counting"?  Not in THIS house!  Who would want to watch anything besides Mickey and Jake?
  6. He can't play with his older sister's paper dolls.  Dude, they are "Frozen" and thus irreplaceable.  No, you can't rip Anna's head off or eat Elsa's signature sparkly blue gown.  It will destroy your sister's universe. 
  7. He wanted the pink princess goldfish crackers his sister was eating.  Hey kid, maybe if you wouldn't go straight to crying when you want something and just ASK for them, you would totally get them.  
  8. I made him sit in a cart at the store.  
  9. He hates "NCIS New Orleans."  Don't we all?  Except my husband, who I am convinced only likes it because he was like the world's biggest Quantum Leap fan as a kid, and you know - Scott Bakula is in it. 
 Are we noticing a trend here?  Most of the tantrums involve NOT watching Disney Junior and/or not getting what he wants.

This is what Mr. Two-Year-Old would say:

"Okay, so we will just give baby boy whatever he wants and we shall only watch Disney Junior forever!"

I don't think so, kid.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Christmas on a Dime Part 1: Create a Holiday Table Centerpiece for less than $30!

Since we relocated to Northeast Florida, we have been on a tight budget.  Christmas is right around the corner as the Buddy the Elf memes have been proclaiming for weeks now.  The majority of our belongings, including ALL of the Christmas decorations, are in a black hole portable storage container somewhere in Florida.  We have been faced with having to provide a festive Christmas for our family and extended family that is visiting without breaking the bank.

First off, I have been wanting to prepare a festive table for the holidays.  I would love nothing more than to just run out and purchase the implements to create a beautiful holiday spread a la Arhaus or Pottery Barn, but obviously that is not feasible. So, I decided to roll up my sleeves and get crafty.

Right now we are living in a temporary apartment.  It's not exactly the best place but we try to make the best of it.  There are, however, a lot of trees surrounding the apartment complex.  I immediately had the idea to make use of branches and pine cones to adorn our holiday table. 

I also used a 10 foot burlap runner, which was purchased from the wedding department of Wal-mart for $5.96, and three LED battery-operated candles from Sam's Club ($19.99).  This is really an area where you can personalize your project.  Basically all you need is a table runner of some sort.  You could even purchase inexpensive fabric or burlap and make your own if you're feeling especially crafty.  You can purchase LED candles from the Dollar Tree.  Throw them in a cylinder vase and bam!  Doing these things would significantly decrease the price of this project.  I bought a non-holiday runner and candles that I could use in the future (again, saving money overall), but you can select whatever style you would like. 

To dress up the pine cones, I used one can of $.98 white spray paint from Wal-Mart and a bottle of iridescent glitter I had around the house.  For my look, you could use the same materials, or you could adapt the colors of both to suit your decor.  I will say that if you use another color or prefer an opaque white coating on your branches and pine cones, you would probably want two cans of paint in your color of choice.  You will also need a tarp, sheet, drop cloth or old shower curtain to protect your painting surface.

Step 1: Find your branches and pine cones.

This is the FREE part of the project!  Go outside of your house or to a park.  You can get the kids involved and turn it into a game!  Make sure you have bags to collect the pine cones.  We did not and it would have gone a lot better if we had brought some along.  Select clean pine cones that are dry and not too dirty.  Use a brush to remove any dirt if necessary.  Select twigs that do not have a lot of fungus on them.  It does not take the paint well.  Select twigs and pine cones that suit your style and table size. There are a lot of varieties out there, and it really is just a matter of preference and/or availability. 

Step 2: Prepare your crafting area.

Spread your surface cover over your painting surface in a well-ventilated area.  Make sure your paint and glitter are within easy reach.  Gather your pine cones and branches and spread them out on the tarp. 

Step 3: Get painting!

Spray paint one side of the pine cones.  After painting each cone, sprinkle glitter on it immediately so it will stick.  Then spray paint the branches.  Apply as light or as heavy of a coat as you'd like.  I did a light coating of white.  Allow everything to dry, then flip over and repeat the process on the other side.  I did not put glitter on the branches.  If I did I would do it after the paint dries and use a spray adhesive to apply the glitter.

Step 4: Arrange your table.

First, I rolled out my runner.  Then, I arranged the LED candles on the table.  After that, I placed the branches and pine cones on the table.   

Voila!  Your table has gone from post-Thanksgiving drab to holiday fab!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Vintage Red and Blue Little Girl's Room

I recently redecorated my daughter's room.  She is three, but I wanted to give her a look that was age appropriate but also fitting for the little lady that she is.  I also did not want to buy anything for the room other than paint and possible coordinating linens.  

I began my search by browsing Pinterest (aka the "time sucking devil") for ideas.  I wanted to do something with the color red, so I started there.  I found inspiration here and here.  The theme we decided to go for was vintage red and blue.

We began by painting the walls a beautiful shade of sky blue.  The color we selected was Valspar Woodlawn Blue Angel (5003-9B).   

To furnish the room, we repurposed our antique guest room furniture.  I had a headboard, wardrobe, chair, ottoman, and dresser for the room. The only piece of furniture purchased for the room was a night stand, which we scored for $100 at an a local antique store. 

I then gathered accents that went with the theme from around the house.  A woven bag and vintage mirror purchased during a 2007 trip to Daytona Beach when moving to Florida was merely a possibility for retirement, my old Nancy Drew books, and various other odds and ends accented the look.  I used a new mirror from IKEA as bow storage.  Our picture frame shelf was repainted to a gorgeous shade of red.  A framed tapestry and similar pillow featuring playful kittens (because what little girl doesn't LOVE kittens) were added.  A lamp that had once been in our den was moved in.  My kitchen valances from a house I moved out of in 2006 worked perfectly with the vintage theme. I manged to find a great comforter set at Bealls Outlet for just $15.

The entire look was completed for under $150!

Here is the finished room:

Party Punch!

This non-alcoholic party punch recipe is always a hit at parties and receptions!  

I got the recipe from my mom's next door neighbor years ago.  So, a special thanks to Mary Ann Malone, who came up with the recipe that I am sharing with all of you!

Party Punch

  • 1 can frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1/2 can crushed pineapple
  • 1 2-liter bottle lemon-lime soda
  • 2 cups fruit punch (you can use the traditional red, or you can use clear and leave it as pictured above or use gel food coloring to make it a specific color - see below)
  • ice
  1. Add orange juice concentrate and pineapple to a large punch bowl.
  2. Pour lemon-lime soda on top
  3. Add fruit punch.
  4. Add ice to almost fill the bowl.
  5. Add food coloring if desired.
  6. Stir well.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Ants Strike Again!

When I left the story, we had battled the ants back with a can of Raid and had managed to speed home.

Luckily, this was a Thursday and I had nothing to do Friday.  We set baits.  Eddie kept fighting them with the Raid. 

And the darn things kept reappearing.  Eddie had managed to abate them enough to drive the car, but they still kept trickling back in.  The question was, where the heck were the little devils coming from?

A few friends had suggested using Terro.  So we placed those. 

Then Eddie decided to search the Freestyle for the freeloading pests.  There had to be more of them somewhere.  He found the mother of all hidey-holes in the spare tire cubby.  Eddie once again whipped out the Raid and went to work.  Boy, that must have been a huge can. 

Between the Terro and the Raid, the ants were finally defeated.  They ruined the spare tire cubby cover, but other than that a vacuum quickly erased all vestiges of their reign.

I have now resumed use of my vehicle.  And you know what?  I still get phantom ant bites.  Darn little things are haunting me even after their demise.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Attack of the Fire Ants...

Being a native Virginian, fire ants were a foreign concept to me.  We heard rumblings and urban legends of them making their way up the coast, for sure.  There was one knarly old cowboy who drove the hay ride at the pumpkin patch who told stories of them building huge mounds and children being killed by them. I even had a cousin in Carolina whose foot was swarmed by them, causing her foot to explode (well, not really, but it WAS pretty sore). 

I never would have suspected that I would one day fall victim to these little nasties. 

It started mundanely enough.  With a Ford Freestyle loaded with the fossilized remains of discarded french fries, McNuggets, and possibly even a piece of string cheese.  If only I had known what was coming and that I would be feeding the horde, I may have cleaned up the mess.  But I had a two-year-old and  a one-month-old, who had time to swab the decks?

I should preface my story by adding that my husband is arguably the biggest cheapo in the planet.  He is SO cheap that my nephew, when he was still a baby, practically learned to call him "Uncle Cheap" before he learned to say "Uncle Eddie."  My mom even bought him pajamas (because she buys us pajamas EVERY year for Christmas) that said "El Cheapo" all over them. 

But I digress.  Back to the ants.

My husband, whom I have to keep reminding myself that I love dearly, decided it would be a good idea to save $2 on airport parking by selecting a lot online.  Now, I was slightly dubious about this, mainly because the last lot that he tried to save money on ended up being surrounded by barbed wire and no where's near the airport.  Plus, all the money he saved on parking was spent on tolls to get to said parking.  However, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. 

When we pulled up, in the rain no less, at the Howard Johnson in a seedy part of Tampa, I realized that my husband had picked "airport parking" that really should have been called "empty lots behind the HoJo that are not secured and are miles away from the airport."  He proceeded to look for a spot. 

And look.

And look.

We finally MADE a spot in between two cars in one of the fields.  As I grabbed an umbrella out of the back of the vehicle, I began to feel stings.  I looked down, and there were fire ants swarming my leg.  I quickly did what is affectionately referred to in our household as the "bug dance."  This is made by jumping up and down screaming while madly shaking whatever part of your body happens to have one or more critters on it.  While loudly praising the Lord that I decided to wear actual sneakers that day as opposed to my usual flip-flops, I climbed into our other vehicle and off we went on our road trip to Virginia.

Eddie returned home to Florida after driving us to Virginia, and when he picked up the car noticed that it "had a few ants in it from the rain."

Almost three weeks later, I returned home.  We went out, and I noticed the ants, but there were only a few of them.  If only I had known what lie beneath. 

On a family trip one evening to the grocery store, Eddie began being bit by ants in the car.  Then one bit me.  We decided enough was enough and we would vaccuum the car to get rid of their food supply.  So, we stopped at a gas station, took the children out of the car, and started cleaning. 

Then I heard a shriek and the sound of a floormat being dropped on the ground.  I saw my husband running away from the car like a scared little girl.  I decided to investigate. 

This is roughly what the floor of the driver's seat of our car looked like:

Yes, it was completely covered with fire ants.  They were angry little buggers, too.  They were swarming out from under the floor.  So we started vacuuming...

I literally felt like I was in a scene from the classic sci-fi movie Empire of the Ants.  Except that my ants were much smaller and there were like millions (possibly billions) more of them. 

We had to walk across the street to Wal-Mart with the kids in tow in the dark to get a flashlight, Raid, and ant traps. I am sure this cost much more than the $2 we saved on the parking.

We managed to get enough of the with the vacuum and Raid combination to quickly throw the kids in the car and get home. 


Friday, March 9, 2012

EXPIRED Britax Carseat Giveaway - Baby Gizmo


Now, if you have known me for any amount of time, you know I am all about Britax and their products.  We have strollers and carseats, and have been extremely happy with all of them!  We are actually in need of a convertible car seat  for Harrison. 

Imagine my elation when I discovered that Baby Gizmo is giving away a Britax convertible car seat TODAY!!!!

To celebrate 5 million views on YouTube, Baby Gizmo is giving away fabulous products.  Go here for all the information, and good luck!!!   Of course, you'll have to beat me to win, so hopefully you'll feel guilty if you do, ha ha!