30 Nov 2009

Sunday Six

1.) A few months ago I picked up a few of those re-usable grocery bags from Wal-Mart and I am wondering why I didn’t do this sooner.  The straps are long enough to sling them over your shoulder, which makes them considerably easier to carry in from the car.  It also forces the cashier to pack the bags entirely, instead of having 2-5 items per bag, which drives me crazy.2009_11_17_42442.) Speaking of Wal-Mart, I was there today and was almost run over by an unruly little boy who was “helping” his dad push the cart.  As I passed, the dad said, “Now don’t you run into that lady, or she’ll whoop you good.”  I turned around, baffled, but they had already passed and didn’t look back.  I didn’t think I looked that intimidating in my LCU sweatshirt and jeans, but who knows?

3.) My sister-in-law once commented, when I complimented her Christmas decorations, that she used to put out every Christmas thing that she owned, whether she liked it or not, simply because it was Christmas-y.  More recently she started only putting out what she really liked, even if it didn’t end up being a lot in quantity.  This is good advice and has been in my mind as I’ve been rummaging around my Christmas boxes.   

4.) I still go back and forth about whether or not I like it when Jayce looks like a big boy.  But sometimes these grown up outfits are just too hard to resist.2009_11_26_4481

5.) Jayce spent lots of time playing with his Aunt Melanie and Uncle Matt at Thanksgiving.  In true 18 month old fashion, he was most enamored with their electronic things, like phones and cameras.2009_11_26_4484

6.) Luckily Uncle Matt was around when we were trying to get a family picture, and kept Jayce laughing while we snapped away.  If only we all could have remembered to look at the camera.2009_11_26_4496

28 Nov 2009

Organized Disorganization

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That old saying about getting spoiled at Grandma’s house was true for us this holiday weekend.  Though Jayce was spoiled by the usual stuff, toys and snacks and whatnot, there were also a few surprise bonuses, such as non-child safety locked drawers, and Tupperware on the bottom.

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This happened a few different times over the weekend.  The first time was while I was asleep and I just discovered a few pictures on my camera after the fact.  But I got to observe one of the unpacking sessions myself.  There was plenty of this,

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and occasionally this.

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We did discover on one spying session that these items were not being randomly thrown out of the drawer, but carefully placed around the room, with care taken to ensure that all of the bowls and lids were separated and put out individually.  Several of them started off in little rows that were eventually filled in, and by the end of the weekend, he had everything spread out all around the kitchen floor.  It was a good and important project.

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Not Too Oldies, But Still Goodies

The month of November has been a good one for my blog because I have have been giving it more attention since I commited to blog every single day. (I know I got a slightly late start, but anyway...) The only bad thing about writing every single day is that, on some days I really like whatever I have posted about and would rather leave it on top for a few days, instead of it getting pushed lower and lower on the page every time I post something new. I know of a few people who check up on us pretty regularly here, but don't expect anyone to actually check every single day, and I sometimes wonder if they have missed a few of the good ones.

In light of this, and the fact that I'm currently visiting family and want to spend a little more time visiting and a little less time typing, I give you a few of my favorites over the last month.

1.) OMG, they published my comments in Parents mag! Read about it here.
From Windows Live Writer

2.) I received this unbelievable Light Scoop, which has solved my DSLR flash problems. See my befores and afters for yourself and read about it here.

From Windows Live Writer

3.) I made something for my walls that doesn't actually look like it's homemade, unlike a lot of the crafts that I've attempted. If you want to see how it's so easy that I shoudn't feel that proud of myself, click here.

From Windows Live Writer

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend! Be back soon!

27 Nov 2009

Thankful

Today I am thankful that we can reach our families in a trip that doesn't require a plane (though it is a little faster that way), that my son is at the age where he's making animal noises, and that up until this weekend my husband has allowed me to be oblivious as to how to change the Diaper Genie cartridges. Life is good.

26 Nov 2009

A Day for Driving, Not Blogging

Today was, as the title might suggest, a day in the car. We drove out of town to see family for Thanksgiving, and then out of town from there to meet up with other family members for dinner. We then drove back to the initial out of town location for sleeping and Thanksgiving celebrations. We have only just arrived and I am completely wiped out! My 18 month old, who normally naps for about 4 cumulative hours only slept for 1 hour, and went to bed 3+ hours late.
I hope he sleeps in tomorrow, because I need to sleep in tomorrow! And since Chris just got in last night from his conference in New Orleans, and then drove all day today, he needs to sleep in!

This year for Thanksgiving, I plan to be thankful for sleeping in. I hope I don't jinx it. Not that I believe in that sort of thing.

24 Nov 2009

DIY Wall Art

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I have had the recent fortune of making these awesome wall hangings and I am completely in love with them! I saw this idea in Lowes Creative Solutions this summer and have been obsessed with making them ever since. Luckily they turned out perfectly, were pretty easy and the results are gorgeous, so just I have to share them.2009_11_24_4463

I started off with a few pieces of poplar board, 1 inch x 12 inches x 6 feet. I had them sawed in half, which left me with two 3 feet x 12 inch boards.

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I sanded and stained the boards,

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lined the edges with painters tape, and covered the boards with this doormat that I picked up from Lowes.

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I then spray painted 4 light coats through the doormat-2 straight down on the mat and 2 from different angles to try to fill in all of the gaps.

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I allowed the paint to dry for about 30 minutes after the last coat,

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and when I pulled the mat off I literally squealed with delight.

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I sealed the wood with a spray polyurethane and hung those babies up as soon as I could.

I used heavy duty sawtooth hangers on the back of the boards, and hung them on wall anchors spaced about 13 inches apart.

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The wood shows through beautifully and the design looks so elegant on the wall. The only real problem is that I want to put them in every single room of the house-the neutral wood and ivory go with absolutely everything! It took a lot of deliberation before they finally landed in the living room, but I was glad to finally have something to fill the space above the TV, and luckily mom was willing to hold to hold them up against different walls while I debated.2009_11_24_4458

I'm so excited to be linking this up to the CSI project!


Visit thecsiproject.com

23 Nov 2009

Helping Hand

As I’ve mentioned several times in the past few days, Mom came into town to help me this weekend while Chris was away.  As always, we took on more projects than two people could possibly handle in 72 hours, especially with an 18 month old in the mix.  Anyway, we made solid progress on a few things, and finished up the most incredible thing, which I will post about later in all of it’s glory.  But most importantly, she was able to “help” like this.

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I never know who is having more fun when the swing is involved.  Thanks for everything Mom!  We love you and miss you already!

Sunday Six

1.) My mom found this little tractor at Goodwill for $11 and we got it for Jayce.  He loves it so much that he would barely get off of it.  Even when he wasn’t pushing himself around he would just sit contentedly.

2.) Actually, when he first woke up from his nap and saw it in the house, he threw down his essential naptime bear, removed his pacifier and flung it on the ground, and ran to the tractor.  I have never seen him do that with anything.  These little comfort items typically will accompany him everywhere until I take them away, so I was surprised to see them willingly surrendered.

3.) He thinks that the tractor’s trailer is a vacuum cleaner.  Or maybe a shopping cart.  Either way, he keeps detaching it and pushing it around separately.  (Trailer? Is that right? I don’t know much tractor lingo so feel free to correct me.  I’ve stopped referring to combines generically as tractors since living in Illinois, so there is hope for me yet.)2009_11_21_4346

4.) He wouldn’t get off the tractor to let mom clean it, so instead she cleaned it while he drove.  He even helped a little.  Kind of.2009_11_21_4344

5.) His favorite part? The steering wheel. It’s his only toy with one, (he mostly has bikes and horses, no cars yet), and he won’t let go of it.  My favorite part?  He thinks it’s a train.  We’ve been telling him it’s a tractor but he’s been “choo chooooing” whenever he’s on it.  I guess it’s like a two car train to him.  2009_11_21_4337

6.) A Sunday Six entirely devoted to a new toy?  It appears that I am either pressed for time or material.  I assure you that it is the former and not the latter.  I actually have too much to tell and not enough time tonight.  Or to be more accurate, too much to still accomplish tonight to spend more time blogging.  Darn this NaBloPoMo I committed to.

21 Nov 2009

Bugs

fraidy cat

My friend gave me this picture, which cracks me up.  We were trying to get Jayce to pet this little caterpillar and he just was NOT having it.  He really hates bugs.  I think this is my fault, something to do with allowing our friends to torture play with him and a fake cockroach. (If you haven’t seen this video it is well worth the 15 second time investment.)

Anyway, now whenever we encounter a ladybug (which is often) Jayce will point at it and go “Kkkkkk,” as in “yuck.”  He then takes off running down the hallway towards the laundry room where the dust buster is plugged in, because this is how we deal with bugs in our house, we vacuum them up.  He will wait for us to join him, or come back to get us if we take too long, and then run over to the bug pointing and chattering away until we get it.

I took a little video of him encountering a bug in our bathroom the other day and then attempting to off it himself.  Not as funny as the cockroach, but still cute.

20 Nov 2009

Just A Peek

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You know that saying that goes something like, when mom is away the kids will play?  Well at our house it’s a little more like, when dad is away mom will play…by taking on excessive crafts and projects around the house.  I know that mine doesn’t rhyme, but I hope you’ll forgive me for that.

Anyway, here is just a peek at a few of the projects that Mom and I are ambitiously taking on this weekend.  The second, and probably the most boring-looking, should actually be the coolest if it turns out the way I hope it does. 

There is something old…

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something new…

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something that I almost deleted the “before” picture of because it is so apalling,

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and something crafty.

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Stay tuned. 

19 Nov 2009

Flash Bouncer

This week I received a belated birthday package in the mail from my fabulous brother.  I was beside myself with excitement and eager to try it out.  You see it pictured below, a seemingly simple plastic attachment that snaps on your camera over the attached flash, which everyone knows is the root of all evil in picture-taking.  The purpose of this bouncer is to help you become friends again with your flash instead of NEVER using it, which is what I currently do. 

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Inside the plastic casing is a little mirror (Hi Erin!), which, when the flash fires, bounces the light to the ceiling or wall (depending on how you’re holding the camera), which lights up the room for split second while you snap the picture. 

2009_11_14_4200It is worth noting that if you have a remotely curious child in the vicinity while you are taking pictures with the help of this bouncer, it will lure them in quickly and effectively.  I think it might have something to do with them seeing that there is a bright flash, but since they aren’t blinded by it, they are curious about it. Or maybe the camera in general is less inconspicuous since you are using the flash in some form instead of not at all.

Anyway, here are a few examples of this baby in action. 

“No Flash” setting.

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Manual setting, no flash.

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Manual setting, with flash. (See how dark the background is?)

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Manual, with flash and light bouncer.

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Wish I still had the flash and bouncer on in this shot, he looked up because I had just used the bouncer.  It’s like bees to honey.

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Again, flash with no bouncer.2009_11_19_4287

Flash with bouncer.2009_11_19_4286

You see the difference too, don’t you?  It’s such a softer light, and preferable to “no flash” if the room is dark.  It also can light up the whole room, not just a closely situated subject. 

Room softly lit with the flash bouncer…

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and room lit by blinding flash on camera.  Also, as noted previously, the child cannot resist running towards the camera.

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This little baby is a gem and I can’t wait to use it more!  Also, please tell me that I’m not crazy and that you can see the difference too.  It will just make me feel a little better about torturing my child with these various flash options as he innocently tried to read his books.

Thanks Justin & Tasha!

“Educational” Baby Einstein Videos

Has anyone else heard about the Baby Einstein dvd refunds?

Basically, the Baby Einstein company recently admitted that claiming the dvds were “educational” was just a marketing tool, and was a misrepresentation of the product itself. They are now offering a refund or exchange option for dvds purchased within the last 5 years.  If you want to read more, check out this site.  For information on where to ship your dvds, see here.

We didn’t really watch any of the Baby Einstein videos with Jayce, but not because I have anything against them, we just didn’t.  But I wanted to pass this along because I did think it was really interesting, especially having always wondered about the conflicting advice on how kids under age 2 should not watch tv and these videos claiming to be education for infants.

16 Nov 2009

Dad’s Games

Here is a new one that just started last week.  Chris attaches an old belt to this laundry tub, with Jayce in it, and then runs full speed through the kitchen, across the living room and down the hall. 

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Jayce thinks it’s hilarious, not that you had any doubt that he would.  He laughs so hysterically that Chris has to pause periodically to let Jayce catch his breath.  A few times he even let out little screams of delight, the first I’d ever heard from him.

2009_11_12_41732009_11_12_4165 It’s a good game.

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