Tuesday, February 28, 2012

First REAL Playdate - with a girl

Parker had his first real playdate today. The kind of playdate where the mom drops the kid off and comes back in a couple hours. We've had neighbor kids over and the boys have gone over to a neighbor's to play. We've also had playdates where the mom (or me) hang out while the kids play, but this was a first. And it was a GIRL.

Parker's friend, A. came over early this morning after her mom dropped her brother at preschool (I was kind of jealous because she was in workout clothes and headed to the gym).

Before she came, I asked Parker what he planned to do. Do I need to plan something? A craft? I don't know. I'm new to this too. Parker said, "No Mom, A. gets to pick what we do." Duh! How could I be so dumb?

There was some hide and seek and general running around, but they quickly decided to build a tent in the dining room. I pulled out four sheets, set up some chairs and let them go. Of course, there needed to be every stuffed animal in the house in this tent. Then they decided crafts needed to be done in there too, but there was no room because the animals were hogging all the space. Pretty soon, we had three kids (Dillon hung out too) making snowflakes - lots of snowflakes.

Wouldn't you know, it was snowing in the house. All 30 (or so) paper snowflakes were dropped from the loft area into the dining room. It was pretty cool, actually.

A half-hour on the swingset, some snacks and it was time to go. I think our first playdate was an overall hit. Parker wants to do it again. TOMORROW.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Family Photo Op

I saw this photo idea on Pinterest a while back. Each kid wore a t-shirt with their ages on them. The Pinterest link doesn't work, but here's the results of my efforts.

My sister-in-law and I decided to do it for Grandma's Christmas present. I was put in charge of making the shirts and they came out super cute (if I do say so myself - and I do). They are just simple appliques. They boys picked out their fabrics - Sports for Parker and Lightening McQueen for Dillon. For the girls, I used a cute floral I had on hand.

We took the pictures around Halloween, so I fudged on the ages a little, since there were a couple of birthdays before Christmas. This worked out really well because Dillon got to wear his again for his fourth birthday party.

Here's Parker's number five.

And Dillon's four. He was very excited to wear it again at his party and has worn it several times since. It has Lightening McQueen on it, doesn't it? (I even had some fabric left over for some beanbags and a blindfold for Pin the eyes on McQueen game we made, but that's another story.)
It was tough getting all four kids together and to smile at the same time. The youngest was just under six months old and needed a little support from her cousins. My other niece kept getting up and doing funny things, like this.

I took almost 100 pictures, but we probably only had 10-15 usable ones. All in all, we had some fun, the kids got to play with their cousins and Grandma was pleased with the collage we made her. That's a success all around.

Friday, February 24, 2012

What I learned when selling on ebay

Up until this week, I've only sold one thing on ebay. It was for my MIL and was a group of new, in the box (or in ebay speak NIB) Strawberry Shortcake dolls from the 80s. She made $100 and was happy to clean out her basement (a little, you should see that place - it's like a store down there).

Last week I posted seven different lots of my kids' old Thomas trains and a new Missoni for Target bag that I got a smoking deal on. The auctions ended last night and I made nearly $175. That's a good chunk of change - a nice start to the fund for a trip to California with my mom.

Here are a few things that I learned and some that I will do differently next time:

1. For a busy mom like me, eight auctions at the same time was a bit much to manage. I will probably split it up a little more next time, so I'm not swamped with packing up eight different packages the same day.

2. Group things in managable lots that make sense to the buyer. On this one, I think I did pretty well. My five year-old helped me take the trains and put them together in groups that made sense - a group of all the main characters, a lot of track and buildings, a 'starter set' of trains with a carrying case.

3. Don't promise to send anything international. I wouldn't know how to figure out the shipping and it seemed like a pretty sketchy proposal. Even though my profile says I only send to US addresses, I still had four people ask if I would ship international. The answer - NO. That said, I did notice one of my buyers was in Korea and after a few back and forths, I found out the buyer had a US address. I'm not sure how that works and I don't really want to.

4. Spend a little time researching the shipping costs. I estimated $7.95 for each of my auctions, but quickly found out that wasn't enough in most cases. I ended up pulling about $15 from my earnings for this mistake.

5. Packaging it all up takes longer than you think. I ended up wrapping each train before putting in the boxes (which I had to beg my neighbor for because I was four boxes short). It took forever, even with a couple of little helpers (or maybe because of the little helpers).

6. Stock pile some boxes, so you don't have to pilfer from your neighbor's basement.

7. Don't take your packages to Office Depot or one of those other 'convenience' locations. At my Office Depot, I had to enter all the addresses into their system manually, which took about 10-15 minutes. Then they weigh and measure each package and give you your shipping options (UPS, Priority or Parcel Post). After being there for about 45 minutes, the computer crashed and I had to go to the post office anyway. The post office only took 10 minutes - less time than it took to enter my info at OD.

8. Don't bring your kids with you to the post office, if you can avoid it. Needless to say, the wait at OD was exhasting. The boys were bored (and rightfully so). If you have to bring them, bribe them with icecream. That worked for me. ;-)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Saying goodbye to a good friend - my favorite jeans

Ah, your favorite pair of jeans. Don't tell me they aren't like an old friend. When you're feeling good about yourself or when you're feeling bad about yourself, they always make you just a little more confident.

These Ralph Lauren's are five years old. Which is crazy old in clothes-speak, especially for someone like me who likes to shop at Target and Old Navy and pretty much only buys something if it's on clearance.

I bought these jeans after Parker was born and I lost a lot of weight - thank you breast feeding. I gained only 25 pounds during the pregnancy, but was at my heaviest when I got pregnant (thanks to stress and fertility medications). But after the pregnancy, the weight just fell off - 55 pounds of it. It's stayed off, for the most part, with a couple of ups and downs here and there.

Yesterday, I wore my favorite RF's and they are looking a bit, well worn. The waistband is falling apart, there's a hole near the hem and the crotch is wearing a bit thin in places. Goodbye old friend. I'll miss you, but not too much, because knowing myself, I will make something out of them. Hum. A bag? Potholders? A picnic blanket (I'll need some more for that)? A journal cover? A skirt?

Project! I can't wait. Maybe saying goodbye, in this case, won't be so hard.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fruit Salad. Yummy. Yummy.

OK. I HATE the Wiggles. Like, really hate. Dispise. But that song is addictive.

"Fruit salad. Yummy. Yummy." I often hear my kids changing the words. My favorite is "Poop Salad. Yucky. Yucky."

Anyway, I have been craving an egg salad sandwich for weeks (Making it was a challenge, since apparently, I don't know how to boil an egg. Don't get me started).

I said the words "egg salad" aloud and yep, the whole house busted out in song. The next thing I know, Parker decides he wants to make his own fruit salad.

Who am I to argue with a kid who wants to eat fruit. I pulled out some strawberries, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries and apples, gave him a plastic knife and he went for it.

He didn't want my help either. How cute is he?

Lunch consisted of his special fruit salad, crackers and peanut butter. He wanted to continue using the knife and made little peanut butter sandwiches.

The Wiggles are annoying, but my boy had a healthy lunch that he proudly made - all by himself.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Camper Bleach Stencil T-Shirts

There has been a pin floating around a while on Pinterest for these super cute bleach stenciled t-shirtswith the names Josh and Kate. Here it is from Homemaker: http://jameehomemaker.blogspot.com/2010/02/bleach-stenciled-t-shirts.html

I looked at it and thought, "Hummm. I can do that. I can do it better." So started my mission to make "Happy Camper" shirts for the boys.

We are BIG campers. Last year we set a record of six trips for the season. With my husband's schedule and the fact that we have a kindergartner at a year-round school, that's pretty good. A few years ago, I made shirts for all the campers in our group (including my husband, my sister and brother-in-law and me). They were cute, but I used an iron-on that you run through the printer. They didn't wash up all that well.

Enter the new camping season. I needed something better, so I set out to make some bleach stenciled shirts.

In the original tutorial, the letters were cut out with a Cricut and layed out on the shirts. I decided to use the outside of the Cricut cut-out to make a true stencil. For this step, it helps to have a Gypsy (http://www.cricut.com/gypsy/), so you can lay out your design before you cut it.

I designed this super cute cut-out that says Happy Camper using a campfire and a tent for the 'A's, a tree for the 'Y' and a fishing pole for one of the 'P's. For scrapbooking, you would use the inside of the cut-out for your layout. For this project, I threw out this part and used the outside - making a true stencil.

I used white cardstock, so the color wouldn't run on my shirts. Then placed a plastic grocery bag and a piece of cardboard inside the shirt (to keep the bleach from getting on the back of the shirts). I layed the stencil on the shirt and using a spray bottle full of bleach, I went for it.

You can see I got a little carried away on got a bit of bleach on the sleeve, but it just adds character. Right?

Here's how they came out, with my happy campers modelling them. Well, not exactly modelling them, but they sure are rocking them while fishing with Dad and Pops.

I'm already planning baseball T's for next summer. I'm dying to try out freezer paper stencils. Happy Camper on the front and a number with our last name on the back. Parker has already claimed 8. His lucky number and student number at school. Cute. Right?


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cowboy Up

We have a great little community here in my neighborhood. The kids love each other and the parents, well, we like to drink together, and sit in the sun, and, and, and...

The 8 year-old down the street has this amazing suede cowboy vest that is very popular with the others. Read: They fight about who gets to wear it. Anyway, I decided to make one for each of the neighborhood kiddos for Christmas. Ambitious, I know, since I ended up making nine of them. It worked out great because on his eighth birthday, which happens to fall on Christmas Eve, said neighbor hosted a cowboy party. A little quick sewing to finish up, and I gave each of the kids their vests to wear to the party.

Today, Dillon decided Mousey (his favorite stuffed animal) needed to be a cowboy too. Check out the results.

I used microsuede I found on clearance at Joann's and borrowed the original vest to make a pattern. I cut up my pattern to make the smaller vests, so I don't have it to share. But this is a good one, if you want to make some of your own. http://www.danamadeit.com/2008/07/tutorial-and-pattern-frontier-vest.html

Bedazzle and embellish your hearts out.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day Toilet Paper Roll Stamps

So, I'm getting Pinteractive! And has seen these all over Pinterest lately. The boys and I decided to give it a shot.

First we took some empty TP rolls, and creased them into a heart shape. Note to self: Read the tutorial first. It actually suggested you tape it to maintain the top of the heart shape.

Aren't Parker's little hands cute?!

Next we put some paint into paper bowls, dipped and stamped. We watered the paint down a little bit because we were almost out of red and it made this cool bubble look.

Dillon got a little crazy with his and mangled the shape (hence the tape in the original tutorial).

We did about 10 sheets and plan to cut them up into cards for the neighborhood kids. We're going to add a bag of cookies (but we're waiting to get over these colds as not to get everyone in the neighborhood sick).

Parker tried painting the inside of his hearts, it failed miserably, but he was happy with the bubble effect - he got the filled in hearts he wanted without a big messy blob.

Overall, I think they came out okay. We had fun and that's what it's all about. Right?


Friday, February 10, 2012

Back to the grind and getting "Pinteractive"

I totally suck at keeping up my blog. I've been so busy with the boys and a couple little consulting gigs, that I just let it slide.

My gal, Nanette from Say It, Don't Spray It (http://www.nannersp.com/) dared her FB friends and blog followers to "get Pinteractive." If you're like me, you're already addicted to the site. If not, you will be - It's an online pin board, of sorts. You can pin anything from the web for future reference, follow what your friends are pinning and browse what other users are pinning. One word: Addictive.

OK, so back to getting Pinteractive. There are so many awesome things on Pinterest that there is no way that you can do everything you pin. I've done a lot, but probably only about 5 percent of what I've actually pinned. I'm taking Nanette's dare and going to start posting some of the projects that have been inspired by Pinterest. Here are a few:

This one inspired by this blog post: http://sabbyinsuburbia.blogspot.com/2011/01/homemade-christmas-pendant-necklaces.html

And this great little tie made from one of my hubby's old ones (look closely and you'll see we made a bracelet out of the extra), inspired by http://www.hideousdreadfulstinky.com/2009/09/tutorial-making-boys-tie-from-mans-tie.html

Check back here for some more pinteractivity (if it's not a word yet, it should be). And some original work done by me.