Friday, December 27, 2013

My Resolution

I used to be a stickler for organization. I still love walking into The Container Store. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy. But with two little ones ransacking the house on a regular basis, my need to be perfectly organized has been stuffed in the back corner of my brain.

Not anymore.

I find I get stressed when I can't find anything, and I don't want the extra stress. I find I get frustrated when I forget things because they end up hidden under piles of other things. I don't want the extra frustration.

It is time to be more organized. It is time to accept that I will never have a home that looks like a Container Store ad, but I can have a home in which I can find things.

A place for everything, and everything (eventually) in its place.

It will begin with my office. My office is a scary place where everything goes to hide.

I can't actually walk into my office closet. I literally spent about three minutes trying to get out of it when I went in to find a box of something.

I recently found my glue gun which had been lost since last Halloween. It was in my office closet.

I also didn't realize I'd bought brackets for my office shelf. I found them in a bag under the chair.

This is bad. This isn't as bad as Malcolm in the Middle's Hal and Lois finding an extra bathroom when they cleaned out their bedroom closet, but it's getting close. I fear that one day I won't see the floor anymore.

Even though I would love to be more active and be stronger in 2014, even though I would love to cook more and create more and write more, I feel that I cannot do any of these things until I can feel good about where I put the junk in my home.

What are you New Year's resolutions? Anything that you're rehashing or trying for the first time?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Big Girl Design: The Beginning

If you know me at all, you know that I'm slightly obsessed with a few things: sci-fi television, Harry Potter, and interior design. I'll let you guess what this blog is about.

Tim and I finally came to an agreement on the big girl beds for Lillie and Dani. Check them out here. For me, the plan is to begin with the beds and leave the rest of the room (mostly) as is. Over the next year or so, I will transform (pardon me for imagining the word "transform" being said in some big booming voice with an echo effect) the baby/toddler room into a big girl room that will hopefully stay that way through their tween years.

The only solid plan is the wall color. It's currently a nice neutral (Vanilla Brandy from Olympic), so I plan to keep them that color. Bright accents with a neutral background are far more appealing than bright walls that could be outgrown faster.

Most of the other design elements are just ideas I have brewing, so I thought I would start sharing because there are soooo many. I also happen to have two little girls who are a bit opinionated when it comes to their room decor, so I'm allowing them to put in their two cents (four cents?) as well.

Already bought the bedding (green for D and purple for L).

I love these blankets and plan to do something similar in coordinating colors for each of them.

Both Dani and Lillie fell in love with this cat pattern fabric. I'm thinking pillow cases or throw pillows for their beds. It's cute, but I couldn't take it in large doses. :D

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fabric or Paint? A Question of DIY

To upholster or not is really the question I'm asking here. A few months back, Tim & I took apart the girls cribs-turned-toddler beds because Dani had taken to sleeping on the floor. They've been sleeping on their mattresses on the floors with success (save the occasional room destruction that results in overturned mattresses).

Since the transition from bed to floor, I've been thinking about their big girl beds. Bunks beds were a big consideration, and then my mind turned to loft beds because they could both have a top bunk and room to play underneath. Then my brain started churning again, and I decided that loft beds weren't something that would last. Around 10 or 11, they would want something a little more grown up, and there I am rethinking beds again. Finally, my brain settled on upholstering beds for the girls. I pinned an awesome tutorial from a blog called All Things Campbell. I priced out the project and even have a swatch of the chosen fabric pinned (literally, not digitally) to my bulletin board.

And then my brain started up again. (Can someone make it stop doing that all the time?)

Do I really want to upholster beds for the girls? It's a large project that needs quite a bit of space. It's rather involved and something with which they can't help very much. I also feel that I don't have the extra time to make it as great as I want. Then, of course, Pinterest reared its massively addictive head again, and I once again fell in love with beds like this bright happy yellow one (which is actually from a 2 year-old's bedroom):

source: Project Nursery
And this lovely navy one:

source: Ethan Allen

And this bright red one (I think Tim's love of WKU would make this one a hit.):

source: Jessica Helgerson via Design Sponge 

Of course, the upholstered look is something that could still happen. I still love the look of twin beds with cushy fabric. Here are a couple so it doesn't seem like I'm completely one-sided. 

source: Little Green Notebook
source: Domino Magazine

source: Bear Hill Interiors via Cococozy

So... What do you think? Paint or fabric? Weigh in!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

My Sleepy Secret

I want to take a moment to sing the praises of Zarbee's products. If you haven't tried them, I very much recommend them. A friend of mine introduced me to their cough syrup, which I love. The girls don't hate the flavor and it helped suppress nasty allergy cough that made them aggravated. I got the nighttime cough for nights, and it helps them get to sleep.

Recently I discovered their sleep aid which is awesome.  When I don't need a cough syrup but the girls are still extremely restless, this is what I go for. You can call me lazy if you want, but I call it my helping hand.

Some nights, the girls are so overly tired they just bounce of walls, their beds, and each other. If I give them a sleep tablet, read a couple of stories, and sing some songs, they are usually settled enough to fall asleep within 30 minutes. This week, Lillie got eaten up by mosquitos and couldn't get to sleep because she was itching so much. I rubbed anti-itch cream on her legs, still nothing. Finally, I covered her in shea butter, gave her a tablet, and cuddled until she fell asleep. Again, it only took about half an hour. Plus she slept through the night which has been so rare lately.

So, if you're like me, and you have some nights where you just can't figure out anything else to do, try this stuff. It's wonderful. The cough syrups are great too, especially since there are very few cough remedies for children under six on the market any longer.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Watermelon Dilemma Solved

I took the girls to the Watermelon Festival at Lucky Ladd Farms. Lots and lots of fun was had, and we also had some very, very delicious watermelon. I, getting very much into the spirit of things, decided to buy a Sweet Baby seedless watermelon to bring home. (It was $5! I couldn't pass it up.)

As the name says, it is one very sweet, juicy watermelon. Alas, in my joy of finding a well-priced tasty watermelon, I forgot that four people eating an entire watermelon isn't the most practical thing in the world. What is a woman to do with three-quarters of a watermelon in the refrigerator?

This is what happened.

  • Cut up half of a seedless watermelon and pop into your blender. Blend until smooth.
  • Add 1 1/2 cups of 100% white grape juice (or however much you'd like) to sweeten.
  • Store in a sealed container in your fridge. (I put mine in a mason jar.)
  • ENJOY!

The girls love it. Tim and I used it in margaritas yesterday. It's very refreshing and a great way to use up all that watermelon if you find yourself not quite willing to eat that much.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

These Are My Feet (Sorry)

I debated posting this because most people hate feet. I'm one of those people. Feet aren't pretty to me, and mine especially aren't pretty. My feet are tired and stiff at the end of most days. I don't like shoes, so my bare feet take a daily beating, roughing up my soles and toes. As a stay-at-home/working mom, I rarely have time to go get a pedicure, so I usually do all my foot grooming at home. Alas, I'm just no professional, and I have not been doing my feet justice.

Over the past few years, I've had lots of trouble with dry skin. Not the kind of dry skin that just needs lotion and socks, but the kind of dry skin that results in peeling and cracking and painful cuts on my feet. I've tried all kinds of different treatments to make the skin on my feet better--including visiting a dermatologist. (On a separate note, the people at Skin Solutions in Cool Springs are terrible.) Some things have helped, but nothing has really reversed the condition...until now. (Excuse me while I jump into infomercial mode.)

Avon Pedi Peel
Avon carries a line of foot care products that I will now stand by forever. I've used their callus cream and salt scrub, and both of those have made my feet nicer for short periods of time. In fact, I recommend them to people who suffer from normal dry feet. It wasn't enough for me though.

This week, I got the Dual Action Pedi Peel. I've used it in the past, and it worked well enough. Avon stopped selling it for a long time, but when it came back, I decided to get it again. I think they've updated the formula, and I'm ecstatic. I've used it--combined with the Lavender Overnight Cream--three times (THREE), and I almost cried over the results. I think the combination of Overnight Cream and Pedi Peel is the key.

OK. I'm about to show you pictures of my feet. Don't look if you don't want to.

My right foot doesn't appear to be as bad, but I always got the deep cuts on my big toe. OUCH!

My left foot wins the award for grossness. I think I moved beyond dry skin, and I'm now just molting.

My foot almost looks normal!!! I can't believe it. 

I still have some deep crevices there on my toe, but I no longer appear to be molting!!!

I must remind you, this is only three applications. THREE!! So if you're having trouble with your feet, go buy some Avon Pedi Peel and Lavender Overnight Cream. It's awesome.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Make Believe Milk, Step 1

So Tampico (and I'm sure some other items) comes in normal gallon-size jugs but also these cute little mini-jugs.

Tampico as a drink scares me, but when I saw the cute little jugs at Dollar Tree, I thought, "Hmm...those would be perfect for the girls kitchen!" I bought two. We usually have two jugs of milk in the fridge, and I know that my girls aren't always on top of the sharing.

Step one has been achieved--emptying and cleaning the bottles. Step two will be to make it look like there's milk in there. Step three will be making cool labels.

I feel a Pinterest pin coming on...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

On the Potty Train

I had always intended for my girls to be potty trained before they turned three. At the end of August 2012, I decided that I was going to begin potty training. In September, I was in a car accident resulting in a totaled car and a broken wrist. Needless to say, potty training was put on hold.

At the end of February, a couple of weeks after the girls' third birthday, I decided the time was nigh. I would start potty training right after our trip to Florida. Little did I know, Dani wanted to start sooner. While on vacation, we had to buy a potty seat because she wanted to go all the time (including at DisneyWorld). It was definitely a sign of what was to come.

A week and a half ago, Lillie, Dani, Tim & I hopped on the potty train. I told the girls we would start potty training on Thursday. A song happened...and they excitedly performed.

Then Thursday arrived, and the day began. I was armed with stickers, a gallon of lemonade (their favorite), new cups from Universal Studios, a bag of M&Ms that included pink and purple (because my girls are girly girls sometimes), and a giant chart. We put on training pants and started the day.

Dani went right away and didn't have but one accident. Lillie took five times, a change to pull ups (because she didn't like the pink training pants) and me cheering her on before she finally went. And when she was a beautiful moment; I am not joking. She'd been stressed all day--not wanting to sit on the potty and only staying for a minute when she would. I thought about forcing her to either wear the training pants or be naked, but I felt that might be a bad way to go. I finally told her she had to sit on the potty long enough to watch three Elmo videos. I pulled out my phone, she watched, complained, watched another, complained, and halfway through the third, she peed!! Her face lit up, and Dani and I both clapped for her. I could tell she was proud. It was awesome.

This was them at the end of day one...

Now we've been at it for over a week. Five accidents between the two of them--all mild and two occurring in the bathroom. They've been very calm and helped clean up each time. We've gone potty at Taco Bell, Walmart, Target, K-Mart and Publix (twice). I now know that they hate, hate, HATE automatic flush toilets. Dani doesn't want you to look at her while she goes, while Lillie wants everyone to hang out. She demands privacy only when she goes poopy.

I'm thinking about night training, but have no intentions of working on it for at least a few months. I want them to be solid with the daytime thing first.

So what have I learned from this experience? Here's a list, in no particular order:
  • It's not as bad as you think. It seems so scary, but if you just find the patience and realize that they will not be in diapers forever, it will happen.
  • There's a upside and a downside to every type of potty trainer. Sometimes, you'll have a kid who thinks it's fun to pull down her pants and sit on the big potty, so she'll want to go ALL the time even if she doesn't have to which interrupts meal time, play time, snack time, bed time, and every other time in between. Sometimes, you'll have a kid who's afraid she'll fall in and won't go until you make her sit and sit and sit. 
  • M&Ms are amazing motivators.
  • No matter how much your child likes a drink or a cool cup, she'll probably be sick of you pushing it on her 10 times a day for two days.
  • Letting them pick the stickers and the treats will get them super excited about potty training.
  • Distractions for those scared of the potty really does work. I used my trusty iPhone, but reading books, singing songs, doing silly dance--it all works.
  • I bought disposable training pants because I was going to transition. I would advise only using them at night and for longer trips. Lillie was less reluctant to go in the potty when she had them on. Once I got her in the cloth ones, she was all about using the potty.
  • Buy flushable wipes! They make clean up easy and maybe they'll save you half a roll of toilet paper.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Cutting the Curl

This week, we started potty training. And I actually thought my first entry back after a super-long hiatus would be about just that, but no. I'll write about potty training next week. Today, I'm talking about Dani's hair.

Both of my girls have hair issues. Lillie likes to twirl her hair. It used to be pretty bad--twirling it into little knots that would be near impossible to remove. Now, it's just a matter of looking like she's got bedhead most of the day because she pulls it out of every single hairstyle I give her. (I swear, everyone who's ever seen us in public, I comb her hair!) It's annoying, but it's manageable.

Dani's is becoming not-so-manageable. Dani screams as if someone has drawn and quartered her whenever I do anything to her hair. If someone else combs it, moisturizing it or tries to style it in any way, she gets very distressed with the trembling lip and all. When it comes to Mommy, it's DefCon 5. Tonight, she kicked me, pinched me and threw herself on the floor multiple times, and that was just when she saw me put leave-in conditioner in the palm of my hand.

I think the only answer is to cut her hair.

I don't want to. I really and truly don't, but I just can't come up with another solution. If it's short, it won't get tangled and it will simply be easier to manage until she's old enough to hold in the tantrum while I style it. Will she be upset about losing her awesome messy 'fro? Maybe. Will I be upset? Definitely.  Will she still look adorable with a shorter, curly 'fro? Of course. So I don't know why it's bothering me so much. It just is.

Can someone give me words of encouragement? Another idea? Everything's welcome!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Photo 365, the First

And we're off!! I did cheat on Sunday, though. I forgot the camera when we went to Inside Out, so I took them with my phone (boooooo).