Oct 30, 2015

Halloween How To: Mini Ghost Water Bottles

A big congratulations are in order for me. You see, I was the last parent to sign up to bring something to the Preschool Young 4's Halloween Party. It's ok though, who needs to be saddled with the standard cupcakes or fruit salad anyway? Too much work if you ask me. Instead, my creativity thrives under the conditions of time constraints and desperation.

That's how I came up with these Mini Ghost Water Bottles. I also figured that the teachers and parents didn't need another ounce of sugar added to the equation.

First gather your supplies. I bought 2 cases of mini Poland Spring bottles, a box of tissues, glue, very thin grosgrain ribbon, and of course googly eyes.

Assembly is easy and goes even faster with an assistant! Simply throw a tissue over your bottle and tie with the ribbon. Then dab some glue on each eye and affix to the cap. Done!

Due to the small parts in this project, it's not recommended for children under 3.

Oct 28, 2015

A Rambling Post: The Weekend

Grace Styled herself for the Neighborhood Block Party

Wow. We had a super busy weekend and I'm still recovering as I write this on Monday night. Why I keep thinking I'm super Mom and can handle all this activity with a not quite newborn anymore, I'll never know! But you know what? It might not be pretty but I can handle it so maybe I'll just roll with it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I have a group of friends that were friends before the kids came along. It's always so much fun when we get together but now that we have kids I feel like we don't even have a second to find out what the other is up to! I have faith that this will get better... eventually, when we stop having kids and they've all reached the age of umm 8 maybe? I don't know? Is that reasonable?

Anyway, on Saturday morning we all met at my house before the town Halloween parade. Chaos ensued. We were late to the parade and Matt managed to drop Grace and I off so we could make it right in time to be the last paraders in front of the police car. Matt and Brooke met up with us a little along the route but we didn't even find the other 3 couples we came with until halfway through when they cut through the middle of the route. Oops.

Sunday was perhaps the most taxing thanks to a neighborhood yard sale I agreed to participate in. If you've ever had a yard sale you're probably cringing at this as we speak. Oyyy, I don't even want to think about it. From the multiple people who show up before 8 am to rifle through your boxes then hassle you for pricing information while you're setting up (this happens every.time.) to the customers who argue with you over $0.50 and then pay in pennies. WHY BOTHER. Next time I'm loading up my boxes and calling our local charity that nicely and stealthily comes to my driveway to pick up my goods. You see, the thing was, I had SO MUCH STUFF to get rid of due to my 2 month long declutter project that when the opportunity came up, my entrepreneurial self fell for the allure of setting up shop. Maybe I was starved for a little bit of marketing. The best part of the yard sale was when it was over. I pulled the tarp over the tables (did I mention it was also raining) and went inside to change out of damp clothes. I was inside for maybe 5 minutes when the doorbell rang and I looked outside to see people taking the tarp off the tables forcing me back out into the rain. People are crazy.

Oct 20, 2015

Life with a Toddler and Newborn: The 2 Months Edition

We've survived two whole months with a toddler and a newborn. Here are a few things I've learned along the way.

1. It's not as hard as I thought it would be
2. Coffee is Essential.
3. It's important to follow The Order of Operations

I know what you're thinking, Melissa and a math analogy? Oh, maybe you haven't heard how terrible I am at math? That's why I'm in Marketing after all. But bear with me here and I will explain...

Life with a toddler and newborn/infant/younger toddler and so on and so forth... is a life wrought with chaos unless you're constantly trying to maximize efficiency of everyday tasks. You'll quickly discover the key to efficiency depends on a strict Order of Operations. For example, when traveling by car we arrive at our destination - I can't just hop out and unleash (or unbuckle) the toddler. You see, I still have to open the trunk, set up the stroller and then take out the infant carrier, get the infant set up in said stroller, and attach the diaper bag. We all know what mayhem can ensue in the time it takes you to do all that. Scary. 

Instead, I learned quickly to follow a specific set of actions. First, I must exit the car with my diaper bag and iced coffee (see #2) and immediately open the trunk to remove and set up the stroller. We use the Graco Snap and Go and UppaBaby with Bassinet intermittently. Each has its purpose and each takes a different amount of set up time. Once the stroller is secured, insert baby and move to toddler's side of the car for a controlled release. Now I have at least one hand free for toddler control. "Hold my hand. HOLD my hand!" You'll only ever have one hand available for a while. Make sure your stroller has a cup holder for this reason. It's up to you to figure out when to let go for the 2 seconds it takes to get your sip.

Here's our Brooke Poppy at 2 months!

Unfortunately, like her big sister, she didn't gain much weight since our last check up so we're working on that. But otherwise she is healthy and becoming much more alert every day. I LOVE her left dimple and with all the smile practice I've even seen a right dimple emerge a few times.

Little Brookie VonCookie is a dream baby who is pretty chill during the day and will usually sleep through the night - BUT oh my word, her witching HOURS are crazy. She's usually a fuss budget from 7pm until she finally relents and goes to bed anywhere from 10:30 to around midnight some nights. We are hoping to be in the final stretch of this as she's 9 weeks and the Doctor said most are through it by 12 weeks. We've tried all the S's and they do work but you can't put her down for a second during this time. In fact, it's currently 6:51 pm and I can feel her getting all rigid in my arms as we speak.

Did you experience the dreaded Witching Hour with your little one?
Any advice?

We know this will end, as it did with Grace... eventually. But : / yeeeesh.

Oct 14, 2015

Grace Opens her First Frozen Fash'em! What is a Fash'em??

If you have a toddler who has ever accessed your YouTube account, there's a good chance your little one has come across any of the following: Surprise Eggs (including but not limited to eggs covered in My Little Pony heads created entirely with Play-Doh), Blind Bags (Grace is fond of My Little Pony Cutie Mark Magic),  Toy Reviews (more plastic play sets than I ever knew existed),  and Grown Adults Playing with Toys. The latter of which I was considering quitting my day job and playing with toys all day, but I don't think I have the right "voice". And if you've ever seen one of these videos you will know what I mean. ; )

Anyway, since Grace was obsessed with these little squishy toys that came in what I'll describe as barrels, I thought I'd try to find one. I was at Toys R Us returning something and set out to find her first Fash'em. Apparently these are a hot item at the ol' TRU because they were out of My Little Pony and only had one Frozen Fash'em left. The associate at Toys R Us told me they were having trouble keeping them on the shelves because people were stealing them so their inventory showed there were many in stock when there were not. This is really a shame because 1. they are hard to find locally 2. Amazon has jacked up the price to $6.75 - Toys R Us is $3.49, but I'm currently only seeing the My Little Pony version online.

*These are affiliate links, if you decide you don't have the patience to visit your local Toys R Us, you can shop here and I will receive a small amount of commission. 

So, I let Gracie take it away. If nothing else, her enthusiasm for this little plastic toy will make you smile :)

Have your kids discovered these videos on YouTube? 

Oct 8, 2015

Operation Declutter: Tackling the Hall Closet

I just finished decluttering the hall closet and boy am I tired. I found this one to be a little emotionally draining because there were so many random things to deal with and make decisions about.

Here we are around 1pm

I started by taking everything out and then vacuuming and dusting the shelf. 

Most of the items in here didn't really belong in the hall closet to begin with and I realized what a dumping ground this had become. 😱 That meant that I had to decide where the items really did belong and traipse all over the house to restore order. When I was done I was amazed at how little actually belonged in the closet! A few pairs of shoes per person, a few coats, a basket of hats and gloves, and a shoe organizer that we use for the odd umbrella or sunscreen. Oh and then I snuck my purse in there after. 

Voilà! I finished around 3:30 pm. 

Before and After

Ok I did it, now it's your turn! Just start by pulling everything out. There's no turning back then! Good luck!

Oct 7, 2015

Create a Gallery for Your Kid's Art in 10 Minutes

Do you have a pile of your child's art hanging around? Is your fridge covered with construction paper and glitter? Did you use regular old tape to stick your child's drawings on the kitchen wall and then the paint came off when you were trying to take it down? (That last one was definitely me. Shhh don't tell my husband.) If the answer is YES! Hold on to your hats, because I've discovered a solution that will only take you 10 minutes to execute.

I am all about speedy, yet impactful projects these days. Ever since reading Marie Kondo's book I have been on a roll with the decluttering (my favorite accessory is a trash bag), organizing, and home improvements. Gracie's artwork has been on our fridge and our kitchen wall since she started putting stickers on construction paper around 18 months. I love these little reminders of her creativity but my kitchen was starting to look crazy so I needed a way to display them appropriately. Now, originally, I was always enamored by the beautiful and elaborate frames you see on Pinterest, hung in pristine fashion to create a gallery wall. While I'm working on some version of that dream down in the playroom, I just don't have the TIMMMME to create that all over the house. And also, do you know how many works of art I receive in a month? A lot. I know myself and the September art would be in there for 15 years.

So what is a time strapped, yet highly motivated gal to do? Head straight to Amazon of course (while feeding the baby with the other hand) and invest in the following supplies:

2 Brad Nails - you may have these on hand, but if not maybe it's time to equip yourself with a picture hanging kit?


 1 Pack Mini Colorful Clothespins

If you need some additional art, I'll put Gracie to work straight away.

Fast forward 2 days when your Amazon shipment has arrived (because I trust you have Amazon Prime, don't you?).......

Take one of your nails and tie two knots around it with the twine. Bang into the wall while the baby is awake. Now tie two knots around the other nail and eyeball the proper location across the wall. No levels required... this isn't a "gallery wall" remember. Now with your twine in place, hang the art with the clothespins. Done. So easy.

Ready to shop? Click on the links below to purchase what you see in the project above. *These are affiliate links so if you purchase I will make a percentage of the sales. Please and thank you :)


Oct 2, 2015

Toys, toys everywhere. Time for a playroom overhaul!

We've all been there. That point. The point where you just can't stand looking at clutter - whether in a playroom, your closet, the leftover containers... *shudder*

Since I've been spending a lot of time at home during maternity leave, these clutter situations have really started to get to me. So I had to take action. While the newborn sleeps. 

If you haven't seen the declutter-a-thon that happened in my drawers lately, click here.

But for now, it's ON to the PLAYROOM! 

We've been in this house for almost 2 years now so this playroom represents 2 years of toy accumulations. To be honest, the playroom is pretty easy to clean up and "organize" by throwing toys in random bins (can you spot all my bins?), but the problem is that all of the toys just seem to blend together in a sea of distracting colors. I felt like Grace wasn't seeing the potential in her toys. 

Playroom Before - Monday
Fast Forward to Wednesday when the Playroom was unveiled to Grace and my husband...

I won't tell Grace that two bags of her toys (mostly broken/random/mismatched things) were hauled out to the curb but it sure does look purdy doesn't it?

Now note, how it only took 5 minutes for her to completely destroy all order. Luckily it was a fast clean up. Le sigh...

On to Phase 3. See that purple wall... I have plans. Big plans. What would you do?

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