DIYP #8- Recycled Crayons

I have an easy DIYP for this weekend!  It’s fun and kid-friendly. And it’s a great lesson in recycling.

My kids love crafts, especially my oldest daughter.  About 42.9 times a week (averages higher in the summer) she wants to get crafty.  It’s exhausting and she doesn’t believe that folding clothes is considered an art form in some remote places.

The other day, the kids were coloring and drawing.  It began to lose it’s appeal and the craft begging began.  I took one look at their pathetic collection of old, broken crayons and before I had a chance to call myself a bad mom, I said:

1. Tear the paper off of broken crayons. 



2. Place broken crayons into paper liners of muffin tin.  (We did all different colors:  red, white, blue, pastels, Christmas colors.)



3. Preheat oven to 275 degrees and bake crayons for 10 minutes. (My kids loved watching these melt in the oven).


4. Let them cool and peel off paper.


5. Impress your kids. Just like that!



My toddler thought they looked good enough to eat!




In the winter edition of Family Fun Magazine, I saw this same idea. But they put the crayons in heart-shaped muffin tins and attached them to Valentine’s. My kids would love to share these with their friends.

My Life is a Theme Night

So next week is Family Camp.

I have low expectations, for several reasons: 1. We can only go up from there;  2. We will be spending a considerable amount of time out-of-doors with the nearest major medical center miles away; and 3. We are THAT family.
Enough said about that.
Even with low expectations, we are excited about getting away and making memories.  
Every night there is a theme.  Families are to dress accordingly.  Fun, right? 
Well.  After scouring Party City, I decided we needed to do more in-depth shopping for our 60’s outfits and Fiesta wear.  
In the parking lot of the Goodwill store, I explained to my kids that we were looking for Mexican dresses (you know the touristy kind with the embroidered flowers?) and Mexican dress shirts (the kind waiters wear at my favorite restaurant).
Now, let me start by saying, I love second-hand stores.  I have found some great treasures in my day and while in Bible college, most of my clothes came from Salvation Army.  It’s in my blood and I can sniff out a great find.
My kids?  Oh, they did plenty of sniffing.  As soon as we walked in the store they gasped and covered their noses, bemoaning the smell of used items.  
I gave them the evil eye.  Like this?
Oh, did I scare you?  Good.  I do apologize.
And then my daughter said loudly, “Where are the Mexican clothes?”
Every eye was on us, including several Hispanic shoppers.
For Pete’s sake.
I whispered, “It’s a Fiesta!  We’re looking for Fiesta wear!”
We made our way around the store and my son exclaimed loudly and hurried us to the pre-worn lingerie and underwear department, saying, “I found outfits for ‘sexy night!'”
Uh, that would be sixties night.
At Family Camp. 
Because I’m pretty sure they aren’t bringing sexy back this year.
About that time, I realized our toddler was hiding behind a clothes rack and I stepped over a child’s nasty diaper laying in the middle of the aisle.
Yuck. Exactly what kind of mother . . .  uh, hang on.

Yeah. I checked under my toddler’s sun dress and stopped judging that poor mother immediately.  Because she looked strangely like me.
We scooped up the diaper and the baby, paid for our maracas and flower-print shirts and left a bewildered audience at The Goodwill Store.
Like we really need a theme.
The Talent Show
Yes, there is a talent show at Family Camp.  We have wracked our brain and decided we don’t have a family talent. (Because, no dear daughter and son, people do not want to hear us make funny noises with our hand cupped under our arms).  But we must participate, according to my kids. Or family camp won’t be any fun. No. Fun. At all.
Food for the Soul:
Proverbs 29:23, “A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.”

Sincerely ‘Fro Me to You-Before the ‘Fro

Hi!  Welcome to Sincerely ‘Fro Me to You.  You can read about this madness here, if you want to link up.

I had darling hair at one time.
Before the perms. And the ‘fro.
It was soft and wavy.  I wore it in pig tails, which curled in wisps around my neck.
And then one day, I turned 8, my oldest daughter’s age.
I wanted a Dorothy Hamill haircut.  Because she was the best ice skater.
I went ice skating once on a school field trip and left with stitches.
At least I could look like Dorothy.
My mom and I returned from the salon and I felt very pretty.  Back then, short hair was rare.  
I am 8 1/2 in this school picture.  I’ve added some pink hair barrettes.
Because I’m fancy like that.
And that bit of hair sticking up?  Totally planned.
Actually, I spent years licking my finger and trying to make it lay down on the photograph.
That did not work for me, in case you’re wondering.
I re-discovered this photo the other day and couldn’t believe how much my 8 year old daughter looks like me. It’s uncanny.
I also wondered what in the world my mother was thinking with that pink outfit in the picture.  
The other night, I pulled out the photo and blamed asked her.  
I don’t remember her answer, because honestly?  There is no excuse.
I was a Dorothy Hamill look-alike (except for the outfit) for about a year before the home perm abuse began.
Fire away.

A Place to Stick It

I love organizing paraphernalia. (I also like that word).

I’m a sucker for a pretty box or an odd-shaped basket.
Just stick me in the container aisle with a glass of sweet tea and I’ll be happy for life.
Even though I put my OCD to good use and live in a fairly clean, organized home, I still battle clutter.  And toys. Everywhere.  
And so, I’ve attacked these areas with a plethora of containers!  
Isn’t it amazing how three matching boxes (Ikea $2.50 for 2) in a row look so swell?  Inside those boxes?  Hundreds of unorganized photos dating all the way back to my ‘fro.
Inside this modern secretary desk (from Ikea)? None ‘o you beeswax.  It’s a mess.
Here’s three more matching baskets that hold all the junk fine linens that won’t fit into my dining room hutch. Looks like it’s time to clean those out.  I have no idea what’s in them.
I love this little basket with a handle.  I don’t have enough kitchen drawers and every time my kids dig in the silverware drawer for a pencil or glue, my head spins around in circles and I would foam in the mouth.
It wasn’t pretty.  At all.
And so, I hung the basket over my vintage shoe drying rack, now being used as a kitchen catch-all!
And all the books and papers and stuff that collect on my kitchen counter?
I stick them in this red wire basket.  Because what exactly is better than a basket that is red? Not much, my friends.
(Try not to judge me by the title of that book, Making Your Children Mind without Losing Yours. It’s summer and I’d like to keep my mind. Enough said).
This little gem was found at Canton, the world’s largest flea market and heaven on earth for people like me.  It’s a reproduction and not the finest of furnishings, but each box comes out 
and is the perfect toy holder, dontchathink?  It makes me very happy.
I love this giant garage sale basket.  It stored my hubby’s dress shirts that needed to go to the cleaners until I confiscated it for more toys.
And this?  Oh, my!  My hubby rolled his eyes at this idea (yes, he did)! I’ve turned this antique laundry basket into a container to hold an extra quilt next toour bed.  I also toss all the fancy throw pillows from my bed into at night, so Alice the Cat, won’t feel compelled to lay on them. I think I would grab this basket if my house caught on fire and roll it through the house throwing things in it.  
That’s called an Emergency Plan.  You’re welcome.
Even tiny baskets can help you gather similar items.  My remote control basket comes in handy.
I’m throwing this one in for just for fun.  Because I’m not so obsessive that I have to organize my bread, but don’t you just love this little red box?  I found it at TJMaxx for $5.99 and thought it would make the perfect bread box.
I like to think of this as the mother of all basket-organizing.  She is great and mighty:  The Ikea book shelf.  I went back to Ikea every month for about a year to buy baskets for this thing.  This piece is quite an investment.  But since our playroom doubles as our TV room, toys fit nicely in all those baskets.
So, baskets and boxes are my tip for great organization. 

What is the Meaning of Life & What Color are My Toes Painted?

Answers PART I

You guys asked some great questions last week. I’m going to tackle the blogging questions today and will work on the personal questions later.

Because I’ve got to paint my toes to figure out the meaning of life (two personal questions I received).

A French Pedicure is my favorite.

Yes, I am that glamorous.  I’m also answering your questions in paragraph form.  Because I like to complicate things.

A complicated, fancy girl with a french pedicure trying to figure out the meaning of life.

The end.

A few technical blogging questions popped up in the midst of all those inquiring minds.  I’ll just admit right now that I am the LEAST qualified person to give technical advice.  I think this has been my greatest blogging challenge.  I need a manual.  It’s been trial and error.  Lots of error.

And, I’ve emailed perfect bloggy strangers and they have been helpful.  And I probably gave them a good laugh.  Because ignorance of my magnitude is funny.  And so, I hope this also answers the question about my plans to move my blog.  I’d love to move it to Word Press one day.  But my fears are real and I come from a long line of over-reactors.

I stumbled into blogging less than a year ago. I had read very few mom blogs at the time and was looking for a writing outlet.  I invited extended friends and family to read my little stories.  I don’t regret this, but if I knew then what I know now, I probably wouldn’t have actually sent an invitation.  So, it’s not anonymous, but the majority of my local friends don’t know about my blog.  And no one has ever said, “Hey, aren’t you THAT family?”  Although plenty of people have thought it.  I’m sure.

And when extended friends and family do bring up the blog?  It’s actually embarrassing.  Last week at my hubby’s family reunion, I had second and third cousins by marriage bringing up my Rear View. 

Seriously.

I find that I’m much more comfortable with perfect strangers knowing about my White Trash moments than my neighbors.  But, my hubby and kids and parents enjoy the stories and we like to laugh at ourselves. (My mother-in-law doesn’t have the Internet, but has her daughter read my posts to her).  Good thing, huh?  Because being nekid at VBS is hilarious.  Once your back home.

My kids even say occasionally, “That would be great on your blog, Mom!”  And of course, I can’t use it because tape recorded toots are just tacky.  Plain and simple.

As for “off-limit topics?”  I have many.  I don’t like to vent or rant about other people on my blog.  I try to keep it positive and only exploit those who live with me.  (Although the family reunion was fertile soil for some brilliant posts.  You’ll just have to trust me on that one).  I also don’t use my kids’ names or give our exact location. I don’t cuss (in real life either, all those years living with a Pastor, I guess).   And I do keep some things to myself.  I think they call it privacy and we need just a dab of it.  I do give out my email address and gladly accept gifts.  Thanks for asking 😀  I also answer every email sent my way.

I loved the question, “How do you write funny stuff? Can you come make my life funny?”  I don’t think my life is any funnier than anyone else’s.  I think it’s just perspective.  Because believe me, in those moments, I am not laughing.  The line between hysteria and hysterical is very fine, my friends! 

I love order and organization and so does my blog.  When I first began, I would sit down, jot down whatever I could think of and hit publish.  I discovered two things right away:  I wasn’t very funny and I had a lot of typos.  I keep a little file on my computer and a notepad in my purse and I write down EVERYTHING that makes me laugh, even if it’s just one line.  I have dozens and dozens of ideas that may or may not become posts. I write a post and then let it simmer for a day or two.  I reread it and add a few things and edit it.  This works for me.

My passion is writing, so that makes that part of blogging easy for me.  I truly enjoy it and I feel such relief when I get a story on paper. 

The goals I have for my blog are evolving.  I’m still relatively new to all of this but I’d love to attend a blogging conference and meet other addicted dedicated bloggers.  I think a Texas Bloggy get-together would be a blast!  (And I’ll get right on that after I catch up on laundry.  So, it could be a year or four). Sure, I would love to make some money.  Is that bad?  I don’t have goals to get rich, but I got my first check from BlogHer Ads the other day and it made me smile.  Widely.  And if I only made .29 cents (TOTAL), I’d keep blogging. I’d also like to publish my blog in book form on Blurb.  I haven’t started yet, but a few family members have put in their orders. I love that I have some subscribers and it’s such an honor to see those numbers grow.  I always have a number in my mind and when I reach it, I feel like I’ve met a small goal.  Then I raise it a few. . .  

As for reading other blogs, I try to read what’s on my blogroll daily.  I subscribe to almost 100 blogs and follow them on Bloglines.  As I get to know blogs and want to share them, I add them to my blogroll. 

I used to spend a lot more time leaving comments.  This is the main reason my blog has grown some. Now, I spend the majority of my time writing.  During the day, in between mothering, I blog hop, read and leave a smattering of comments and I do most of my writing at night.  

Bloglines has helped me manage my time a little better in reading blogs, but I do not have a handle on the time management end of blogging!  I know I will never catch up!

Whew!  

I’ll tackle part two in the near future!

Don’t forget to enter my fun vintage apron giveaway here!

I Feel Like A Woman*GiVeaWay!

*UPDATE*  We have a winner! Look who’s getting a new apron!  Congratulations to Mom of Two Princesses!

I am 35 years old.

I have been married for nearly 15 years.
I have birthed three children.
And I have never felt more like a woman, than I do, right now:
Standing in my kitchen, wearing my first apron.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about my cooking skills.  It was a short post.
At the same time, I was answering a meme from Happy Mommy about cooking.
Because I’m a smart cookie.
I mentioned that I did not own an apron.  Even as I typed this, I flinched.  Because I knew the Apron Queen might read the post.
And thankfully, she did.
Do you know what she did?  She sent a rick-rack attack over to my little Texas home!  She sent me my first apron.  And she sent both of my daughters, their first apron.
There was a lot of squealing in the kitchen that day.
But once we sent my hubby and son outside, they stopped the racket.
The day the apron arrived, we had just returned from my in-laws farm.  My counters overflowed with fresh garden produce my mother-in-law shared.  As I chopped and grated, I felt very feminine.
Who knew an apron could make dinner taste so yummy?  
I have always thought aprons were for gourmet-cooking women.  But even as I opened a can of Chef Boy-are-dee last night, I felt glamourous. 
Our aprons hang on a hook in the kitchen and my little girls love to tie them on.
The Apron Queen is generously offering to make one of my lucky readers feel like a woman too, today with an apron giveaway!
Go, look around at her wonderful store, come back here and leave one comment (please) about which apron would get you in the mood to heat up the kitchen.  The random number generator will choose a lucky winner.  Comments close Tuesday at 10 p.m. (CST). This is a $35 value!
Many of you were shocked that I didn’t own an apron.  Now, that I do, I think it’s a little weird too, since I love old things. So, if you have an apron, take a picture of it or of you in it, and I’ll throw up a Mr. Linky, so we can have a little impromptu apron party today!
Here, we will go first!

They Will Let Anyone Be a Mother These Days

Thank you for allowing me to repost a few of my favorite posts from my Archives on my old Mac blog.  This was originally posted in March.



I was wandering down my daily blogroll when I came to this post by Heather J over in Jirkaville.  It was riveting.  


I was un-bathed.  Pajama-clad (actually I lost my pj bottoms somewhere along the way of rushing my older kids out the door) so, I was half-naked. My priorities were in order:  I was reading other people’s business before I took care of my own.


My one year old sat in my lap while I worked on my laptop at the kitchen counter.   My baby likes to dig thru the drawer while I blog away. 


As I intently read, I was moved to tears by Heather’s post .  My daughter started squirming, so I sat her on the floor.  She had a plastic thingy in her hand.  At least that’s what I thought it was.


4.5 seconds later, she started screaming.


I whipped around and IN-SLOW-MOTION-BECAUSE-I’M-A-SLOW-THINKER, I realized that the said plastic-thingy was SUPERGLUE.


Dripping.


With teethmarks.


I scooped her up and ran to the kitchen sink.


These words are FLASHING in my head:


YOU ARE NOT MATURE ENOUGH TO BE A MOTHER.  FIND AN ADULT IMMEDIATELY.


My daughter’s hands were covered in Superglue AND her lips were glued closed.


 


Let me just pause and LET THAT SINK IN.


Baby.  Lips.  Glued.  FOR ETERNITY.  Jesus, help me.


I’m crying, she’s crying, I’m splashing water on both of us. Praying for help, begging for forgiveness. It did dawn on me in a surreal way, how perfectly still my child became.  She knew it was bad.  And I think she was hoping for another adult to arrive. 


The warm water and a little pressure helped part her crusty lips.  THANK GOD.


She didn’t ingest the glue and that seemed to be very good news.


I nearly passed out when I heard the key in the front door.


A host of heavenly angels ushered my dear hubby into the kitchen in search of something he’d forgotten.  He saw the superglue, our crusty, sticky hands and his baby’s lips and took over.


I googled, “Baby lips and super glue.” Which I’m sure helped Child Protective Services hone in on my whereabouts.


And I’m sure this was an internet first.


According to reliable resources, acetone is the enemy to superglue.  It’s the kryptonite to the Super mega adhesive.


Thank GOD, I paint my nails.


We dipped cotton into nail polish remover and scrubbed.  My one year old perfected her dirty look and my husband didn’t even ask how it happened.


Which now, I find disturbing.  He returns home to find his daughter’s life in mortal danger under my care and it doesn’t even surprise him.


We cleaned her up as much as possible.  


 


“I’ve got to get to work,” my husband said as he grabbed his jacket.


“What?  You can’t leave me.  I cannot be trusted.  It’s not even 8:30 a.m and I nearly wounded your baby,” I said as I grabbed his pant leg and held on for dear life.


He smiled at me.  And left.


I checked on that girl 432 times during her morning nap.  The entire time I couldn’t help to think about the wisdom of these words:  KEEP OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN.


And, all I have to say is they will let anyone be a mother these days.


Get ready for a fun giveaway on Monday! Hint: Take a picture of yourself in your apron because the Apron Queen is visiting THAT family! Really-get your pictures ready!