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Thursday, July 28, 2011

USB Pet Rock

This made me does much of ThinkGeek's stuff.

My poor blog. I'll try not to neglect it so much.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Today only: Butterfly Habitat deal!

If you read my Very Hungry Caterpillar post and wished you had the opportunity to order the butterfly habitat for cheap, hurry on over to Kids.Woot and order one, two, or better yet, three! You can order up to three per account and the shipping/handling is $5 no matter how many you order. The kits are just $6.99 from Woot until they sell out or the day ends, whichever comes first.

There is a $5 s/h fee for the caterpillars when you order them, but you'd have that whether you ordered this kit for $6.99 from Woot or $19.99 elsewhere. If you check out Insect Lore's site, you'll see that it's less expensive to order extra full kits from Woot than order additional sets of butterfly larvae.

I did contact Insect Lore to ask if the habitat was appropriate for preying mantises, and they said it was. We might order a mantis egg sack and watch an army of little green predators emerge!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

I recently picked up a copy of  The Very Hungry Caterpillar at Kohls as part of their Kohls Cares for Kids $5 book program. Would you believe I had never read this to my children? They are loving it and so am I. There are lessons about nature and healthy eating and it's a great opportunity to have the children count along with me and identify colors.

I can't wait to see their faces when we watch our own caterpillars become butterflies. We recently received an Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden and need to wait for Ohio to finally warm up to order our caterpillars! I'm looking forward to reusing the butterfly habitat for other insects that we temporarily study before releasing back into the wild.

I ordered my Butterfly Garden through kids.woot, but linked to the same product (for more money) on Amazon since Woot is a deal a day that I dearly love and have ordered far too many things from. I check it regularly for goodies :)

Monday, March 28, 2011


Various plagues have beset our home and it seems like someone has been sick, to some degree, for almost two months. It's made our schedule extra hectic and meant we had to miss out on some fun with other kids. The only upside to the sickness is that I'm finally updating this blog again, as I snuggle in bed with a sleeping boy who has a horrible cough. I'd rather update my blog and catch up on my blog reading than risk waking him up to get some other things done. I'm debating trying to get up and grab a crochet hook or knitting needles and yarn. 
It's still cold in Ohio so maybe I should finish off some of the partially-made hats I've crocheted. Many are variations on the Inner Hooker owl hat pictured at left. It took several attempts to follow the directions well enough to not make the hats come out huge, and they are still pretty roomy. The one at left was a gift, made in Ohio State colors, and after my second attempt was too large I decided it'd just be a baby gift he could wear next winter. 

My crochet stash includes several completed and partially-completed hat bases, eyes that need sewn on, and a few beaks. I've found that the eyes and beak are tedious at times but perfect for the rare times when I sit down to watch TV and don't have something else to work on. I usually do much better with repeating rows of double crochet. Not quite as relaxing as knitting a fairly basic hat pattern, but close. 

There are many sewing projects waiting for me to sit down at my machine, including some simple character pillows for my children. Gator is getting this Buzz Lightyear and Violet has a similar Cinderella waiting for her. I picked them up at Joann Fabrics when they were half price and really thought I'd have them done before Valentine's Day. Then her birthday. Now it's almost April. The few times when I think I would have time to sit and sew or craft, there are so many more pressing things to work on. Cleaning the house for Violet's birthday party. Compiling receipts and expenses for our taxes. Cleaning the house again because it doesn't take long to get it trashed. Organizing. Decluttering. And so on. The goal is to have a play space adjacent to the room where my sewing machine and photo editing/designing desktop mac are, so I can work while the kids play. I think it's time to put other things on the backburner so that playspace is completed and I can work or play while the kids play.

I keep discovering crafty blogs with tutorials for cool projects like this roll-up car caddy. What a wonderful way to tame clutter and package things up for a trip out. I have some ideas to use this for other favorite toys that are small. It will be a perfect use for some of the fabric I kept from worn out clothing that seemed to have good potential for future sewing projects. How wonderful it would be to combine the goals of recycling, creating, and organizing!

Monday, March 14, 2011


It's been a little over four years since I embarked on this journey of motherhood. Sure, the journey started during that uncomfortable, complicated pregnancy, but the baby in my belly went to concerts, work, etc. with me when baby on the outside required much more consideration.

Last year was the first year we did more than a family party for a child, and we took advantage of a room that could be reserved for free. My house didn't have to get cleaned and didn't have the craziness descend upon it. This year, I decided we would have a smaller party at home. Violet loves helping people bake and decorating cookies and cupcakes is a real treat. So we planned a cupcake-decorating birthday party.

This was the first time I baked a cake, and while it wasn't as fancy and polished as store-bought cakes, the recipient was happy with it and it tasted good too! I can't believe how inexpensive it was to bake my own cake instead of buying one, and it wasn't that hard. Putting it together and decorating it was like a fun craft project.

the only picture that shows the layers
The cake featured one layer of chocolate and one layer of strawberry cake, baked from a mix. Ariel figurines purchased on clearance at Target months ago (because someone's been requesting an Ariel cake this year since her birthday last year) made the cake go with the requested theme without requiring great expense or artistry. Wilton does make an Ariel Cake Pan but the plastic figurines worked well and provided the birthday girl with playthings for later. I would have preferred  to write more on the top, but I figured a simple "4" was better than novice writing.

For cupcake decorating, I had a variety of sprinkles, icing, chocolate chips, nuts, and three kinds of frosting. I decorated some of the leftovers (at left) before packing them up for later. I'm looking forward to playing with the Wilton Make a Face Animal Icing Decorations some more later. We also had Wilton Hello Kitty Icing Decorations and Wilton Toy Story Icing Decorations, ordered from Amazon, and we have a lot of fun decorations to use in future cupcake and cookie decorating projects! I think we'll be doing a lot more "edible crafts" with the children.

My son, the cat, part 2

Many times, I've found a cat playing inside a paper bag. I don't recall finding a child in one until very recently...but here is further proof that simple, inexpensive or free toys can provide little ones with much enjoyment.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The gang's all here and ready for bed

Lion, Moon, Elmo, and Bunny

Gator is at an age where he's becoming quite attached to his little friends, particularly at nighttime. I remember Violet having her bed covered in stuffed animals and dolls, so either it's a phase or my kids just love their "friends" a lot.

Bunny has been a longtime lovey, or as close to one as my kids get. We were at Target when Gator was little and these were on a clearance endcap. He was really drawn to the pink one. The non-pink one(s) were not very vibrant and pretty blah and this was more of a peachy pink, and besides, there's nothing wrong with my son having a pink bunny. So the pink bamboo velour bunny became his. He would stroke its fur and ears while he was nursing, and this was good. I was determined he'd find comfort from some object that wasn't attached to me, so I'd pull the potential lovey into some of our nursing sessions. It was an idea I got from The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers: Gentle Ways to Stop Bedtime Battles and Improve Your Child's Sleep in their Nighttime Nursling chapter when I was trying to get Violet to sleep without me. Bunny never grew to grand levels of comfort and security, but there are many times when my little guy is settling down and asks for Bunny.

Elmo seems to draw in young children and mine were no exception. Violet grew bored with him right around the time Gator was falling deeper under his spell, so our Elmo toys transitioned from one child's room to the other. My son seems to view "Melmo" as a true friend.

Lion is a recent addition to the bedtime gang. I picked him up at a card shop that was going out of business when I was pregnant with Gator. It matched his nursery decor. Recently his soft velvety fur has been appreciated at snuggle time.

Woody is not in the picture above, but is very much a part of the family in my children's eyes, as is Violet's Jessie doll. My children are obsessed with Toy Story. Violet has always gravitated toward the cowboy (Woody) and didn't think much of Buzz, but Gator's admiration for him seems to be growing daily. Now everything remotely robotic is called "Buzz" in a soft, sweetly admiring voice. (I know he's a space ranger, but if my kid wants to think he's a robot, so be it...)

And lastly is our Kinderglo Rechargeable Night Light. Violet has a T. Rex (chosen by her because his teeth would scare away monsters) and we love the different light modes, that it's rechargeable, and how easy it is for her to put it on the charger and light it up. Gator doesn't have access to a plugged-in charger yet, but we chose the moon model for him because the shape creates a nice carrying/holding handle. He holds it in his hand to "read" his books after lights out. His latest favorite is the Russell the Sheep book that his sister loved so much. His previous go-to was an animal sounds book...perfect for a child his age to "read" out loud.

If you're considering a Kinderglo night light, note that the moon is quite a bit larger than the dinosaur. T. Rex gets lost in the sheets much more easily.  They've added more shapes since we bought our first one, so you have a lot more to choose from. Maybe my daughter would have still chosen the one with the scary teeth to protect her, or maybe she would have gone with something cuter. They all serve the same purpose. We've been very happy with the choice of night light, even though the price initially made me balk. It's no more expensive than comparable lights by other brands and seems to be the most kid-friendly, and the cost is worth it when my children sleep better!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Falling Up

Hi there!

These crazy kiddos of mine, and life in general, have been keeping me busy and I've really fallen off the blogging wagon. I enjoy sharing my thoughts, memories, and deals and reviews I think others might be interested in.

Goals for this year include a lot more focus on creative pursuits, and I'm hoping to share some of them with you! I may reconnect with my inner geek some more and do some techie reviews, especially if there seems to be some interest. Geeky technology put in layman's terms? That's one of my specialities in my outside-the-home work. I love feedback and comments and it helps me to keep blogging if I think someone besides me is reading it. So let me know what you think about topics, what you'd like to see more of, etc. More pics of the kids? More deals? More reviews? Let me know!

So...see that little guy in the picture? He's almost 21 months old, full of energy, and increasingly conversational. He's a skinny little dude because he burns off calories almost as fast as he consumes them. Big sis is almost four years old and is obsessed with planning for her birthday. I hope it is worth all the buildup...and that she doesn't start obsessing about Christmas again as soon as her birthday passes.

P.S. Does "Falling Up" ring a bell for anyone? Especially my fellow Bobcats? You can listen to "Superhero" and a few other tracks from the Cactus Pears here. Time for me to turn on some Snack for Slacks on my iPod...

Magazine Love

There's a great magazine promo going on at Spend just $20 in their magazine store this month, and you'll get a $10 credit to use on anything sold by Amazon. This might be the perfect time to treat myself to a subscription to my beloved Games magazine. The puzzles, crosswords, etc. are top notch and include varying difficulty levels.  Paint by Numbers is a favorite puzzle of mine, and I tend to buy it at the store every time I see the magazine with new ones. At $4.95 a copy, that adds up. And yes, I already own the book (see link below).

I did a lot of GAMES puzzles, including  Paint by Numbers, when I was on bedrest, then hospital bedrest, before my first baby was born. I did the crosswords in early labor with both of my children. They provided just the right amount of distraction.

My other favorite magazine at the moment is ReadyMade. There are so many creative ideas in it, and it's just my style in so many ways.

I've been enjoying Disney FamilyFun at the doctor's office and will probably subscribe to it at some point. We have Disney Movie Rewards points that can be used for it through that site, though.

I have some Amazon gift cards I earned with SwagBucks, and that makes deals like this that much sweeter!