Friday, January 2, 2015

Clinging to the edge of the Earth....

Because I'm certain nearly all of you were fearful that I'd fallen off...

I didn't post at all - not even once - in 2014. In my defense, I took on some new roles and was definitely a busy girl. In March, I started working as a substitute teacher. I'm not one of those subs who works every single day - my husband's erratic schedule won't allow for that, even if I wanted to. I love the flexibility subbing offers, and the extra money is nice, too. ;) I really do enjoy teaching (it's not my chosen profession, and my degree isn't in it's a totally new thing for me all the way around) and it's fantastic to know that I can make a financial contribution to my family while still being able to do all of the things I want to do for the tiny people. It's the perfect balance!

Over the summer, we moved the not quite as tiny person into her own bedroom. She's 10 now, and in fifth grade. With two schools and two different start times in the morning, we thought it would be a good for her to have her own room so that the tinier tiny person could sleep in a bit longer in the mornings. And extra privacy is nice, too, of course. The downside? The room she was moved into is the room formerly known as my craft room. (Cue the violins.) So, my time to craft has been limited, yes - but the space thing is an issue, too. I'm working on it.

Since my last post, my family has become more than a little Potter-obsessed. The not quite as tiny person has read all of the books. Little sister is currently reading book 3. They were given all of the movies for Christmas, and they've now watched them all. (If you're wondering, yes...they're a little scary! But the girls LOVE them.) The obsession led to some Potterific crafting. The girls were each given switchplates for Christmas, and a few cocoa mugs.
Don't you love how the dried tan paint looks on the switch? UGH. I need to work on that. The "Lumos" is written in gold paint, which doesn't read well in the photo, but it looks awesome in person. I used the same paint pens on the switchplates that I used on the mugs.

OK,'s the deal. I read a tutorial from a blog (found on Pinterest, of course) that suggested using Oil-Based paint markers on the mugs, then baking them for 30min. to set the paint. This was supposed to make the paint set, and make it possible to wash the mugs in the dishwasher. You can see from the 9 3/4 mug that that theory is apparently flawed. If you choose to make the mugs (or plates, a pitcher, what-have-you) please be aware that you'll still need to hand wash the items to ensure that the paint doesn't wear off. I think, too, that the more you go over the design, the weaker it is. I'll be re-doing the 9 3/4 mug, re-baking it, etc. to see if I can get it to stick a bit better.

Then today, boredom took over and I created a HP-related printable, using a quote from Prof. Dumbledore.

Feel free to download it for your own little muggles!

I'm not gonna say it's a resolution. But I will say that I hope to be stopping by here more often this year. (Not that it could be less often, considering last year's track record, but you know what I mean.)


Sunday, November 10, 2013

In Anticipation of the Elf

We {love} our Elf around here. His name is Elliot, and he's amazing. The tiny people miss him SO much and have been asking about him for weeks, wanting to know when he's coming back! We had so much fun with him last year ~ you just never know what that sneaky elf is going to get himself into next...

Elliot takes a ride w/ 2 helium balloons. (and some duct tape...)

Elliot gets busted by Sheriff Woody.

Elliot hits the dance floor with some of the guys.

Elliot takes Barbie for a spin in her car.

Elliot gives the kids mustaches...

...and then gives the kids and their loveys red noses while they sleep! He even put a mirror there so they could see what he'd done to them when they woke up.

Elliot tries to decorate the doll house and gets a little tangled in the lights.

Elliot replaced our stockings with UNDERPANTS!?!?!?

Everyone should have a holiday house party!

Elliot found himself stuck in a Barbie box!

Elliot, live in concert from the dollhouse balcony.

Leaving a message for the tiny people with the help of m&ms and candy canes.

Barbie thought Elliot needed some she put lipstick on him!

A close-up of Elliot as Mr. North Pole

Mr. North Pole hanging out with the ladies.

Elliot couldn't resist a nap in a princess bed.

Elliot turns to a life of crime, robbing the kids' piggy banks!

A friendly game of headbandz...

Elliot loves to read!

And he's a great horseback rider, too.

Mmmmm...roasted marshmallows!

It's only fair that the elf should get to sample some of the cookies...

Elliot is a very skilled Scrabble player!

Holding Barbie's purse while she shops...  Typical.

Elliot and friends in a heated snowball fight!

Elliot made a Play-Doh Snowman!

The LPS pets couldn't wait for story time!

Elliot, gone Swedish fishing.

Everyone likes a relaxing bubble bath, right?

Elliot drew a portrait of the girls while they were at school.

This one is my favorite. Elliot plays the Grinch! Complete with a Barbie dog "Max".

Elliot TP'd the Christmas tree!?!?!

He's got really great taste in music.

Elliot, hanging out on the porch with the garden gnome.

Zip Line Elliot!

Chillin' in a felt hammock after a long day.

I apologize for the not-so-great pics. I had to go back through my FB page (and HIS! Yes, he has his own!) and steal some of the Instagram pics I posted of his antics.

Can't wait to see what trouble he gets into this year!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Your Girl for All Seasons

Fall is BY FAR my favorite season. The weather, the football, the changing leaves, the sweaters and boots, the football...did I mention the football? ;) But, I must admit, I was a little sad this year when it came time to put away some of our summer decor.

One of the things that I said, "Aww..." :( about was the {awesome} "Summer Nights" printable I got from Keri @ her blog, Shaken Together Life. (You can find it here)

See, when I was a kid, my friend Shawn & I watched Grease well over 300 times. But we watched Grease 2 even MORE, if you can believe it. So having a printable based on a song from the movie was perfect for my Grease-y personality. ;)  And the not-as-well-known sequel, well...there happens to be a song called "Your Girl for All Seasons", and it offered up the opportunity to make a {perfect} seasonally appropriate replacement.

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The background is a paper I picked up from a facebook fan freebie by this lovely lady:

I just tweaked the color just a bit, popped in my lyrics and printed it out. And I have to say, I {love} it!!! In fact, I love it so much that I felt the need to share. So you can feel free to hop on over and grab a free download!



Thursday, July 18, 2013


At Christmas, my mom gave me the most adorable welcome mat. It was a winter scene, with owls on a branch, dressed in winter hats and scarves. Flippin' cute as heck. But...winter is the season during which doormats really get {used}...and by spring it was pretty clear that my owls weren't going to last through more than one winter. It didn't make sense to me to store it for use next winter when it was looking so sad...and I couldn't justify going out and purchasing a new doormat when, aside from the decoration, the winter doormat was still in pretty decent shape. So I did what any DIYer would do. I busted out the spray paint!

I apologize for the sad lack of in-project photos. It's been a while since I've done anything crafty, and I'm out of practice with the whole "Hey! You should take pictures of every step!" thing. First, I painted the entire doormat brown. I then made a stencil out of poster board by tracing a template I found for free online. I cut out 2 stencils so that I could spray paint the orange stripes in the uncovered areas *between* the poster board lines. Did that make sense? Here's the end result...

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Admittedly, the brown is looking a little black-er than I'd like - but with time & use it's sure to fade and weather and look perfect relatively soon. 

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I have to say, I love the pop of color it adds to the porch, and it just makes me happy! YAY!


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Road Trip Fun!

Ahhh, Summer.... The time of year when many of us are loading into the car & heading out on seemingly endless drives for "vacation". I use the quotation marks because, let's face it, vacation with kids isn't much of a break for us moms. Technological advancements have made some aspects of car travel easier...but if you're like me, you're not a fan of just plopping in DVD after DVD and allowing your kids to numb their brains while you're passing through the countryside.

My family is spread out all over the place, with my sister living in Kansas City, and my brother living in Philadelphia, and me being pretty much dead center in Metro Detroit. My family has made a couple of trips in recent years for visits, and this is one of the tiny people's favorite things to do on the trip.

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Obviously, I'm not the best artist, but I found it much easier to whip together a plain grid and draw in the items rather than dig through clip art galleries online looking for what I wanted. Here's the grid itself...

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You can download the grid here:

The nice thing about doing it this way is that you can customize the game for your specific trip, and your kids. For a trip through PA, I added tunnels to the game because I knew we'd be driving through some. If we were traveling from our home in Michigan and heading West to Chicago or Kansas City, we wouldn't be passing through any tunnels, but we might add more farm-related items instead - like tractors, or barns with advertisements painted on them. And if we were traveling North from home to Canada, I would probably add islands to the grid, knowing that we would pass Mackinaw Island when going into the Upper Peninsula.  I filled out a few of the grids, and took along some blank ones, too, so that I could change some of the items for the trip home. 

My kids didn't stop when they got a "BINGO" - instead they tried to find everything on the grid, and colored the items in as they found them, which made it more fun. For this part of the game, I strongly suggest giving each kid a cup to hold their crayons. Why? Cars have cupholders! ;) In fact, that's another of my favorite road trip tips. Cups. Put everything - food, pencils/crayons, etc. - in cups. It definitely cuts down on the mess.

Some of the other games we enjoy on road trips are: 

Zit - This is an old family favorite from my youth. Kids get points for spotting farm animals.  Only 1 animal per seeing a herd of cattle won't win you the game...and someone else in the car has to see the animal, no cheating.  ;)  Wild animals don't count. First person to 21 points wins!
Chickens / Ducks / Geese - 1 Pt.
Cats / Dogs - 2 Pts.
Goats / Sheep / Pigs - 3 Pts.
Cows - 4 Pts.
Horses - 5 Pts.
White Horse - 10 Pts.
Old Man with a long white beard wins the game.

The great thing about this game? The kids are using Math! ;)

Name That Person - Each player takes turns picking a famous person. It can be anyone - a historical figure, a celebrity, an athlete, etc.  They give the other players the person's initials, and then the other players in the car take turns asking yes or no questions until someone can correctly guess the person's identity. For example - someone might say "I've got a person, and their initials are A.L." Good questions would be: Is this person alive? Is this person a man? Is this person from the United States?, etc. Eventually someone will figure out that "A.L" is Abraham Lincoln. :)

And then there are the well-known stand-by games that you've probably already been playing!

The Alphabet Game - Find letters A-Z, IN ORDER. Only 1 letter per sign.

The License Plate game - Finding license plates from each of the 50 states (you could add Canadian Provinces, too). Here's a link to a free printable to help with the game!

I hope some of these games are helpful to you and your family. Enjoy & safe travels!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Putting the FUN in Fundraising

So, it's that time of year again, and I'm gearing up for our local Relay for Life. My team of 9 from last year lost 5...and gained FOURTEEN!!! Very exciting! We knew we wanted to do something fun this year when it came to fundraising, and of course I hit up Pinterest for some inspiration. Which is where I got the idea to do this...

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Basically, you drop the potty on a lawn, and the homeowner has to pay to have it removed. $10 for removal, $20 to move it to a friend's house, and $30 for the above + the promise that it won't come back to them. So far (with 1 notable exception) everyone who has gotten the potty dropped on their lawn has been a good sport about it, and almost everyone has chosen to pass it on to a friend.

Now...I saw a couple different versions of the purple toilet...but could never get to a blog / site that gave me any information about the actual painting of the toilet. As you're probably aware toilets are made out of porcelain. Which you, allegedly, cannot just paint. Thanks to my friends at Home Depot, I got some great advice and can now pass it on to YOU, should you be interested in doing a similar fundraiser!

OK, so step one is to obtain a toilet. While it might be skeevy and gross to use a used toilet, it's also a helluva lot cheaper. One of my RFL teammates works for a builder, who happened to have access to a no-longer-in-use toilet that he was willing to part from. HOLLA! Free toilet! After a vigorous cleaning by 2 of my teammates the toilet was ready to go. First I hit it with a couple of coats of Zinsser spray paint primer. This stuff is a miracle in a bottle. Not only does it adhere to porcelain - you don't have to sand the porcelain first! I told you - MIRACLE. I was {not} looking forward to sanding a toilet, let me just say.

Once the primer was dry, I used good old fashioned Rustoleum spray paint in Grape (gloss) to give it a perfect purpley exterior. Isn't it lovely?

The most expensive part of the project was the jewels for the toilet seat. No...I'm not kidding. I used some heavy duty adhesive to stick them on - just to add a little sparkle and some color.

Once the toilet was painted, I designed the sign, printed it out, and used some fantastic connections to get that puppy laminated. Then I used duct tape to stick it to the toilet. :) DONE. The only other thing we did was write a quick letter letting the lucky recipient know who had sent them the potty, and telling them how to contact me so that they could have it removed from their lawn.

Petunia the Purple Potty has been in {several} yards, and has already brought in over $350 for the American Cancer Society ~ and we have a few weeks left to go!  Some of the paint has chipped a bit, and she's been targeted by a few birds, but other than that she's in pretty decent shape. Enough so that we'll probably use her again next year!



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