Thursday, December 4, 2014

Create a Christmas 'wish list' without a bunch of 'stuff'

It's almost Christmas!!!! I love this time of year!  Everybody is so happy and generous (unless you are at Walmart on Black Friday at 4am fighting over an X-box). And it's my favorite clothing season: long sweaters, leggings, boots. 

It's also that time of year when I start seeing Facebook posts like 'what do you buy the kid that has everything?' or 'anybody have suggestions on what to get a 5 year old for Christmas?'

First of all let's be so grateful that our children have way too much. 

And then let's take some of it away. 

I'm not kidding and I'm not evil. 

I've read several articles and books by John Rosemond about 'common sense parenting' that have really helped open my eyes. One of the main things that really hit home was the fact that when children have a ton of toys, they play with none of them. Why? Because it's overwhelming!! Think about how you feel walking into a Yankee Candle Store; so many smells!  It's overwhelming!  And there's not just a simple 'apple' scent (my favorite) - there's pumpkin apple, apple pie, apple spice, red apple, green apple, rotten apple, happy apple (okay so I don't know exact names of scents but you get the idea).  I smell them all and then my nose gets confused so I leave the store and go buy a cinnamon pretzel instead. 

That's how kids feel when they have too many toys. They can't decide what to play with, so they play with nothing. 

I know we live in a competitive society where we want our children to have the same things as every other kid (and more!) and some of us feel like buying our kids crap expresses how much we love them.  Or some of us have children that can work that guilt - 'mommmmm if I owned this I just know I would love it forever and it would be special and every time I play with it I would think of you' (well I might be translating 'mom I want this' all wrong but that's how my brain works when it comes to my kids) - so you buy it and then it gets tossed into the mound of untouched toys in your home. Sigh. 

So I've been majorly downsizing our toy collection this fall. My rule is if doesn't get played with more than once a month, it gets sold through online yard sale sites. Many of these transactions have been secretly done right under my kids' noses and I'm getting so skilled at this I feel like a drug dealer. Of course as soon as you try to get rid of a toy it becomes your child's 'favorite toy in the whole world and they can't go on living unless that toy is part of the unplayed toy mound.'

Trust me; they get over it. They usually don't even know those toys are gone. 

So what do I suggest keeping for you kiddos to play with?  Well I'm a teacher with lots of childhood education and development courses under my belt, my mom just retired from teaching 40 years of KG and 1st grade, and John Rosemond is my parenting guru; so with a combined knowledge from these resources here are my suggestions for Christmas:

1.  Toys that I consider 'educational' or 'I'm raising a future engineer' - toys that require kids to THINK and use their imagination and their hands:

-wooden building blocks - even babies can stack them up and knock them down. It's great fun apparently. 
-Legos / Mega Blocks - these come in all sizes for all ages!
-kinetic sand - this stuff is so cool! 
-Lincoln Logs
-Tinker Toys

2.  Artsy fartsy stuff. Toys and crafts that encourage creative and imaginative thinking skills and helps with hand-eye coordination:

-paper - Yep; simple paper. Lots of colors and textures. Lined paper to help them practice writing skills. Plain paper for them to draw on, paint on, cut up, glue, fill plastic ornaments with, etc. 
-stuff to use on all that paper - penciled, crayons, markers, colored pencils, paint, chalk, glue, blunt scissors, stickers, stamps, etc. 
-any other supplies to use for art projects - glitter, popsicle sticks, cotton balls, scraps of fabric; you would be amazed at the stuff little ones can create when given a selection of supplies. 

3.  Toys that I consider 'role play' items:

-dinosaurs - boys and girls go crazy about dinosaurs! 
-baby dolls - for girls AND boys!! Boys that play with babies are being daddies! 
-doll house with simple furniture - my daughter and son both love playing in my doll house Santa brought me in 1987. 
-Barbie style dolls - Morgan has the entire disney princess collection. The princesses spend the majority of their life naked though so be prepared. Kids love stripping clothes off dolls. 
-train table - for boys and girls!! Both of my kids love their train table. 
-cars, trucks, trains - once again, boys and girls enjoy pushing these around. 
-stuffed animals
-dress up clothes - for boys and girls!  So much fun to dress up like a fireman or porn star (okay so she was a fairy princess but I swear she looked more like a drag queen porn star that evening...)

**important public service update: items in the 'role play' category tend to be items that end up in the toy mound. Be sure to keep quantity under control or the little humans will get overwhelmed. 

4.  Outdoor toys

-bikes, tricycles, big wheels, scooters, wagons; anything with wheels that can be ridden, pushed, pulled. 
-sand box table - love the table option because they can stand and play 
-water table - what kid doesn't love a water mess?
-trampoline - purchase at your own risk. Many parents are against buying one but I love them. They are calorie burning kid exhausters. 
-bubbles - ummm bubbles make kids go looney 
-swing set
-play house
-dump trucks, shovels, pails, anything that they can dig and pile dirt into.
-sidewalk chalk
-hoppers - those ball things that kids jump on. I let my kids use it in the house. It's a kid exhauster. 
-balls, ball gear - soccer, kick ball, basketball, football, etc. 

5.  Electronics - don't be in denial. My kids had my iPhone masters by 6 months. We live in a world full of technology and your kids have to keep up. 

-Leap Frog anything - great stuff. We love the LF readers - the books with reading wand. 
-kindle, iPad, nook, whatever else is out there that I don't know of. Morgan got an iPod touch as her 'big sister gift' when she was 3 and a kindle last Easter when she was 4. There are soooo many educational apps and games and you can find great stuff for them to watch on YouTube (check out the British series called Numberjacks). 
-video game systems - there's nothing wrong with letting your child play wii or PS or X-box. It helps with hand-eye coordination. However; please monitor how much time your child spends playing games. Morgan is 5 and is terrible at video games and we don't have time to play Mario Kart just so she can watch, so for now our wii, X-box, and PS3 are used to play movies. 
-computer - not that your child should have his/her own PC but they need access to one because starting in KG they will be using computer skills. 

6.  Brainy toys

-books!! Any and all books!! Both of my kids love books and have their favorites. Jack is obsessed with a DK My First Dinosaur Book and Morgan has always been a fan of The Very Hungry Caterpillar
-games - we introduced board games to Morgan when she was 3. Candyland, Giess Wjo, Chutes and Ladders are all favorites. Of course there are also games like Doggy Doo Doo that kids love and parents hate. Our dog is always constipated. 
-globe, wall map

I'm sure I've left out lots of stuff in each category but ya'll get the idea right?  Get your kids stuff that inspires them to use their imagination and be hands-on. Some popular toys this year are Doc McStuffins dolls that walks and pulls her medicine cart (uhhhh my kid can watch the doll walk? That's it?) and Lalaloopsy diaper surprise where you feed the doll and she poops out a charm for a bracelet (wait WHAT?!). I think I will pass on both of those. 

Also encourage your kids to enjoy 'practical things' - Morgan wants a bedside table for her room. It's her main request this year because she's 'tired of not having anywhere to put her tissues next to her bed.'  Jack got a 'big boy bed' for Christmas because he's 2 and doesn't know any better. 

Keep it simple! Don't overwhelm your kids with STUFF. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Monster Munch nom nom nom

So Morgan is in KG this year which brings lots of exciting new things, like snack time!  There are 27 kids in her class (poor teacher) and they rotate who gets to bring in snack each day. Morgan got to take a snack first day of school so we got on Pinterest and she selected some complicated snack where you build a robot using a juice box and applesauce and a few other things. We drew and taped and stacked the robots in a box and they basically all fell apart by the next day and Morgan didn't even get to enjoy the snack because she sprained her ankle and I had to pick her up early. Sigh. 

Well this past week it was Morgan's snack day again and since it's close to Halloween, we researched some themed snacks that mommy could master and settled on a modified version of 'monster munch' that kept popping up on Pinterest. 

My version of Monster Munch:

2 bags of pretzels (twisty or straight or both)
1 box honey nut Cheerios type cereal
1 box honey Chex cereal 
1 box Cheezits
1 can mixed nuts or peanuts (obviously check for allergies or you'll be crucified)
2 bags mini marshmallows
2 bags candy corn
1 bag candy pumpkins

In a big bowl mix it all together. Done. 

You could also add raisins, craisins, chocolate chips, whatever you think might make a good munch. 

Then we divided it all into 27 baggies that we had decorated to look like monsters by cutting out teeth and eyes to decorate and glue on. 


They were decorated by a 5 year old who had a blast. And lots of eyes and teeth fell off by the next morning because I need to find something other than a glue stick for these projects. 

Morgan says it was a big hit other than the fact that I forgot to send napkins. 

Hey, I'm not perfect. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Lazy couch cleaning

When we bought our first home 4 years ago we were all excited to upgrade our furniture. Our living room set we had in our townhouse apartment consisted of a couch my husband bought off a college professor that had no legs and a broken arm held in place with a 1980s side table wedged up against it, matching 1980s coffee table, and recliner that I swear was found on the side of the road even though Michael insists it came from a yard sale. 

Fancy stuff, if you live in a frat house. 

So when we bought our house and decided to purchase grownup furniture we found a nice sectional, coffee table, and corner tv stand. We trained the cats to stay off of it and swore never to eat on the couch. 

Then one kid turned into two kids and life got crazy and the next thing I knew my nice new couch started getting covered in snot trails, crusted pizza sauce, dried bananas, and some very questionable substances, not to mention the smells that rub off stinky kids and husband who woller all over it. 

I always worry about using cleaners because they can sometimes leave spots and are full of chemicals that make my kids itchy. Plus I don't have time to spray, scrub, and dry. 

I figured out a simple easy cheap way to clean my microfiber couch. 

Baby wipes

That's it. 

First remove all trains, princess dresses, and bottles of vodka. 

Next lightly spray your entire couch and pillows with Fabreeze. Don't soak it because your family is standing in line waiting to jump back on there.  

Then use simple cheap baby wipes to wipe it all down. We use member's mark wipes from Sam's Club. Be sure to scrub hard on those crusty spots. I promise they will come right out! 

Then you're done. 

Couch smells fresh and looks new-ish again. 

If you let your kids run around with Sharpies and scissors then I don't have any advice on how to fix those couch problems. Just drink more vodka. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Organize those toys (be crazy like me)

I love organizing things. Some would say I'm a little obsessed. Back in my teaching days my sick drawer was organized by color...and socks were folded. Before you roll your eyes, just think about all those times you were running late and digging through your drawers looking for a pair of black socks and then you ended up wearing navy. Imagine pulling out a drawer filled with perfectly organized socks; where navy and black were on opposite ends to avoid confusion. Still rolling your eyes?  Yeah you probably are and that's okay. 

Having kids has brought challenges into my weird world of organization. At first it was okay because baby toys and gear is big and takes up half your house so you really don't have to do much other than avoid tripping over it and clean slobbers off it (ironically I just cleaned slobbers off my leg after typing the world 'slobbers'). 

Then the toys get smaller. And gather in large quantities. And heaven forbid all those small pieces get mixed together; how could anybody play with mixed up toys?!

My kids have way too many toys, I admit it. But they honestly play with everything. My daughter is 5 and is at the age where toys get small and come with even smaller pieces, and my son is 2 and likes to see how many pieces he can fit in his mouth before he gets caught. 

So here's some of my organizing strategies:

1. Plastic containers with lids. I use Sterlite brand that I purchase from Family Dollar. 

2. Canvas style storage bins. 

3.  Pretty, but durable, baskets. 

I use the plastic containers with lids for all of Morgan's small collections: Polly Pocket, Barbie shoes, Lalaloopsy minis, Disney Magic Clip dolls, Disney Palace Pets, and so forth. They are mostly stacked up in her room in random places and aren't adding anything pretty to the decor but it's better than tiny pieces all over the floor (have you ever stepped on a Barbie shoe?!) and better than throwing it all mixed together in whatever container. 

I also have larger plastic storage bins that fit under her bed that contain American Girl accessories, Barbies, and Barbie accessories. 

Canvas style storage bins can be used for larger toys collections: My Little Pony, medical kits, dress up items (crowns, purses, wigs). 

Shelves placed inside closets are great for more storage bins, boxes with puzzles, containers with collections that aren't used often (like the nature collection my mom insists my kids have...dead animals mostly). 

Crayons, markers, glue sticks, scissors, and all other art supplies are always on the table ready for my daughter to use and safe away from the toddler hands of my son. 

And since most of my son's toys are still bigger, I use storage baskets all over the place to throw his stuff in while he's not playing with it. 

And yes, my kids actually play with this stuff pretty much on a daily basis. And I am usually sorting and cleaning several times a day.  I do make them help me as much as they can but I noticed if I am constantly on my daughter about cleaning up her toys, she just won't play with them to avoid having to clean them up later.  She plays so creatively with all of her collections, I don't want her to avoid playing out of fear of having to cleanup. After all, they are only little for a short while. Someday I will miss all these little messes. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Kid Par-tays

You remember birthdays when we were kids?  Cake, usually made by our moms, Kool Aid, maybe some chips, sometimes some balloons, basic plates and napkins.  We ate cake, opened gifts, and played outside until everybody went home.

Simple and fun.


Have you been to a kid's birthday party lately?  Bounce houses, camel rides, buffets of sugary delights.  And don't forget the THEME.  The theme is extremely important.  It dictates your entire color scheme, activity scheme, and sometimes even food scheme. 

Go on Pinterest and search for any birthday party theme and your jaw will drop at the examples. 

Who are these moms?!  How do they have the time and money to pull off these parties?

After you get over the shock, you give yourself a new goal in life...

become THAT mom.

Why?  Well, because your overly spoiled child who has enough toys to stack to the moon and back will OBVIOUSLY appreciate a special birthday party right?  Let's get this straight; it's not for your kid.  It's for you.  It's a personal challenge to see if you can DO it.  Can you pull this off.  Obviously other moms can do it.  The proof is on Pinterest and Facebook.  Can YOU do it?

I have been to some amazing birthday parties and have been wowed every single time. 

Soooo you wanna see what I can do?  Huh huh huh??

For Jack's first birthday we went with a Superman theme.  He's our Superbaby after everything he went through in the NICU.  I wanted ORIGINAL Superman, not the 'man of steel' stuff that came out with the current movie.  His birthday is the first big one we've had at our house.  We usually do birthdays with friends and family in my hometown.  But we've lived here long enough that we have enough good friends to celebrate with now.  AND Jack has a summer birthday.  YAY! 

So I couldn't find any original Superman party supplies...I had to make them.  I bought red, yellow, and blue plates and napkins and such.  I made the decorations using cardboard and yarn.  I made his party hat.  My husband made red, yellow, and blue cupcakes.  I made the cupcake holder.  I made a tutu and hair bow for Morgan. We rented a bounce house.  Honestly, it was a blast planning and preparing and decorating.  Here are some pictures:

It was a lot of fun!  We had about 40 people over for a cookout.

Then it was Morgan's birthday and I decided to try to have a party for her at our house.  Out of all of the themes she could pick from (Frozen, Rapunzel, pink princess) she decided on Sheriff Callie's Wild West, a brand new show on Disney Jr.  Sigh.  I had to get creative.  I went with a brown/pink theme and obviously cowgirl.  I shopped around at party stores and online and pieced together a Sheriff Callie party for her.  Here are some pictures:

AAAAANNNND we had an ice cream sundae bar:

Go me right?!  I am absolutely addicted to making those flag streamers out of scrapbook paper by the way.

Jack turns 2 in 2 days.  I had big plans to do a Wreck It Ralph theme birthday for him....and then I realized I'm tired.  It's been a crazy couple of months around here.  We have no party, no presents, nothing planned for the kid.  


But ya know what?  He's 2.  He won't remember right?!  We will do something special for him, and we are planning a family party sometime in the next month 'back home' but I was really excited to decorate for a Wreck It Ralph party....

Dollhouse remodel

When I was in 3rd grade I got a wooden dollhouse for Christmas. I loved it. I remember sitting in the floor watching my mom install wallpaper in several of the rooms. The wallpaper came from leftovers from my grandma's kitchen and bathroom, my parent's bathroom, and a friend of the family's kitchen and dining room. It took several years to collect furniture to fill up each room and I remember where each piece came from. There was a store in a nearby city that sold only dollhouse items and my mom used to take me and I would drool over all of the miniature items. Whenever I visited my aunt and uncle in Washington, D.C., my aunt would take me to a dollhouse museum. I spent a good part of my childhood arranging furniture and dolls in that little house. Then I became a teenager and lost interest in my toys, so the dollhouse went into storage for many years. 

When my daughter turned 5 my mom got my dollhouse out of storage. There was a little wear and age to it but otherwise it was just as sturdy as ever. It needed a good remodel though. I sadly tore out the old wallpaper because it was damaged. I sanded down the walls and floors. My husband fixed some lose areas where nails were missing. 

I did some research online about dollhouse remodels and created a plan. 

I took Morgan to Lowe's and let her pick out several colors of small containers of sample paints. Then we went to Joann Fabric and picked up some scrap booking paper and mod podge. 

The house had never been painted. My mom and I never got around to it. It remained wood for all those years. 

I totally forgot to take before pictures but I found one:

I had a hard time getting all of the wallpaper out, so I used scrap booking paper to cover it. I cut it to fit and used mod podge to glue to the wall and painted over it with mod podge using a paint brush. I also used scrap book paper on the kitchen floor since there was glue leftover from a piece of linoleum. 

It was a huge job getting all of this done. 


Pardon the mess; the dollhouse gets played with daily!

For her 5th birthday we purchased some furniture to get her started on her collection. She also used random things from other toy collections (Calico Crotters, Little People, etc). 

I love standing in the hall listening to the elaborate stories she creates when she plays with the dollhouse. In 1987 when I woke up Christmas morning and found the dollhouse I never imagined I would still have it all these years later for my own daughter. 

Sometimes Mommyland is sentimental 😊

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

End of the World Generation

I was having 'mommy margaritas' with my dear friend one evening to celebrate her upcoming 30th birthday and half a pitcher in she was like 'turning 30 sucks' and I was like 'you suck because I'm 35 and I want to be 30' and we both giggled and poured another glass.  Then we got all serious about getting older.  She was like 'I never thought about turning's like it would never actually happen' and in my margarita enhanced mental state a light bulb burned brightly over my head.  I responded 'it's because ever since we were born we have been taught the end of the world is near.'


Think about it.  We are the 'end of the world generation.'

In the 1990's all we heard about was Y2K and how it would be the end of the world.  That came and went, yet here we are.  Then it was that darn Mayan calendar.  I was convinced aliens were planning an invasion and I was horrified at the idea of my babies not growing up.  That came and went, yet here we are.  But Jesus is coming back.  He's been coming back for YEARS.  ALL of the signs say so. 

So I have always had this idea of never growing old...

But it's happening, and I think it's a bit of a shocker to a lot of people in my generation.  I mean c'mon, the world has been ending for as long as we can remember.  It's no big deal to rake up some debt, eat whatever we want, our life is short. 

All of these doomsday prep shows certainly don't help.  I watch them sometimes; these people are intense.  Does it make me want to stock up on Doritos and beer and buy a slingshot?  Nah.  It does make me realize that I don't want to live past whatever catastrophe is obviously coming soon.  A world with no iPhones, air conditioning, where people stab each other over a can of sardines?  No thanks.  I will be out in my yard with a big bulls-eye waiting for that alien bomb or slathered up with chocolate syrup running down the street waiting for the zombie apocalypse. 

I'm going to be turning 40 this decade.  My kids are growing up fast.  I will see them graduate high school...then college...get married...

But then again, Jesus is coming back soooo....I'm gonna go shop on Etsy.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Easy gluten free peanut butter cookies

I haven't made these in a while but I've been weaning myself from gluten (extremely slowly...boy do I love me some gluten) and my husband was like 'hey what about those peanut butter cookies you used to make?' and a chorus of angels followed. 

3 ingredients. Seriously. That's it. 

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, spoon out onto a cookie sheet, smash and make pretty with fork, cook at 325 for 20 minutes. Done. Delicious. 

You can also add yummies to these. I added chocolate chips and butterscotch chips to this batch. 

1 cup sugar, 1 cup peanut butter, 1 egg

I added mini chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. 

All mixed up. 

If you don't have one of these, buy one. Totally worth the money. And feel free to admire my 1970s countertops. 

Spooned out. I'm not great with cookie spacing. Don't judge me. 

Smash with fork one way. 

Smash with fork across other way. 

Forked up cookie *snicker*

Fresh out of the oven! 

They may not be pretty but who cares? They are tasty! Enjoy! 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Glam Moms

So I've noticed that some moms look like they've stepped out of the pages of a magazine or from a Pinterest post that belongs under my board 'make me pretty' and I have a bone to pick with you...

No I really don't. 

I have a love / hate relationship with you. 

You look amazing for a mom and I love that you are proof that motherhood isn't the end of all things glamorous. 

But I also hate you for making me feel self conscious for looking like I rolled out of a dumpster. 

I used to spend my evenings after work going to the gym, walking around the park, going to the tanning bed, getting my hair done, shopping for Facebook selfies were frequent due to hair and makeup being perfect all the time. 



I'm a stay at home mom and I spend my evenings (and mornings and afternoons...) running kids to preschool, dance, gymnastics, church, and soon, soccer. Throw in trips to the doctor, the pharmacy, the grocery store, the liquor store (I kid...) and every so often a trip to the mall...where we eat mall pizza and browse 2 stores before Morgan tries dancing with a mannequin and Jack starts screaming because well, he's a guy and he hates the mall. 

Now I get my haircut about twice a year and do my own coloring. Whenever my gray stripe starts to show I jokingly blame it on Elsa (ya know, the newest Disney princess who has powers to freeze everything and accidentally freezes her sister's heart causing a white streak in her hair...).  Do I enjoy locking myself in the bathroom huffing chemicals while coloring my own hair? No way. But it saves so much time and money. And scares away my children for half hour. 'Mommy looks freaky with paint on her head!'

Now instead of going to the gym for an hour or walking around the park enjoying my iPod, I get to do yoga at home with 2 kids and 2 cats climbing over and under and around me; do Zumba or kickboxing videos while trying not to step on your kick kids and cats; or escape to my treadmill in the cold basement. And then I usually eat my feelings afterwards. 

So to the moms that prance around with perfectly cut and highlighted hair, lovely manicured nails, stylish clothes (that match!), and wear more than Chapstick, congratulations on making time for yourself. You look amazing. I'm usually wearing a Dr Who shirt (or honey badger don't care shirt...or t-rex hates push-ups...), yoga pants from Family Dollar stuffed down into snow boots (or flip flops, depending on the season), messy hair in a bun with Elsa stripe shining, Chapstick, nails cut short to prevent injuring children, dark circles under eyes and a confused sleepy expression. 

And Jack doesn't look much better...cause he's usually in a diaper. 

But dang it Morgan always looks cute! She's got a closet and dresser full of adorable clothes and she's my 42 inch tall American Girl doll that I love to style every morning for school. 

She usually looks like this:

While Jack looks like this:

And I usually look like this:


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Screw you Pinterest

Screw you Pinterest. 

Just kidding. 

No really. Screw you. 

I have this love / hate relationship with Pinterest. First of all, I'm angry I got married before Pinterest was invented.  Second, Pinterest adds a lot of stress and anxiety in the lives of women, particularly moms. 

But how cool is it that we can categorize our entire lives into online boards?!  I'm OCD about organization and it's like a gift from the gods of crazy, feeding into my obsessive need to organize, file, sort. 

On Facebook moms are constantly posting adorable projects and crafts they do for holidays and Wednesdays and whatnot. 'Hey it's taco Tuesday! Check out the taco bar I've created, especially the little signs crafted from recycled Mexican sandals in each dish just in case you don't know what diced tomatoes look like!'


At Halloween and Christmas Morgan brought home adorable little spider pretzel cookies and make your own snowman kits with marshmallows. Well, Valentine's Day is approaching and I figured I might as well jump on that super mom bandwagon. 

I asked Morgan 'do you want Valentine's cards to give your class that you can pick out from the store with princesses or opossums or whatever you're into this week orrrrr do you want to waste an entire day cussing over crafts that are an utter disappointment and create your own cards to give out?'

She wanted to make them. Sigh. 

So I got on Pinterest and did a search for 'easy DIY Valentine cards' and scrolled through all sorts of adorable ideas that made me snort and say 'heck no' and then I found one that looked cute and kind of easy. A fishbowl card that says 'glad we're in the same school' and a little bag of Swedish fish attached. She's 4 and has no idea what Valentine's Day is about and I'm not encouraging lovey dovey crap and the card rings true: she's glad to be in the same school with those kids, or most of them anyways. 

So I dropped her off at gymnastics and made a quick run to Family Dollar for supplies:

Note cards
Colored paper
Glue sticks
Black marker
Blue colored pencils 
Blue glitter nail polish
Swedish fish
Sandwich baggies 

Actually dollar stores don't sell liquor which is disappointing. And the clerk didn't hand me my bag with sugar babies so I had to make a U-turn. 

Today while Morgan was at school I started on the project. We gated off the dining room (which is also our computer room because we live like we are in college) to keep Jack from pounding on computer keys as I typed out 'glad we are in the same school happy valentine's day' using curlz font in size 9 then copying and pasting 25 times and printing out while Jack screamed and cried because he couldn't get to mommy and then started throwing goldfish crackers and pacifiers over the gate as an offering with the hopes of being allowed past the barricade. 

Then I googled 'fishbowl drawing' on my iPhone and free handed my own to use as a pattern. I used it, cut it out and was happy until I realized the note cards had lines on one side. 


So I had to dig out some purple paper and cut matching fishbowl shapes to glue to the note card. And then cut the message out to glue. And then outline the fishbowl in marker so that it looked like a darn fishbowl. And then I wished I had some vodka when I accidentally rubbed glue stick in my hair and pieces of paper stuck to it. 

When Morgan came home from school I put her to work. She colored the water then painted over it with the nail polish. After throwing 2 away because she colored the wrong area she was already tired of the project so I had to go into 'you wanted to do this and it's for your class not mine so you sit here and do this' mode. I helped her color and paint. After a while I think even the cats were high from nail polish fumes. Then I grabbed a sharpie for Morgan to write her name with just in case we weren't high enough from huffing nail polish. After saying 'write your name and you'll be finished!' about 109 times we finally had a stack of cards ready for the next phase. I opened up the Swedish fish and divided them into 25 bags. And tasted them...I have never actually eaten them because the word 'fish' in candy just makes me go bleh but it's corn syrup and red dye #40, all the makings of type 2 diabetes and lymph node cancer usually means something tastes delicious. Now I'm addicted. 

I tried to staple the baggie of fish on the card in a cutesy way but honestly after 4 hours of crafting I had turned into the honey badger and I didn't care. 

Here's the final product:

Bam. Got my craft on. Bonded with child number uno. Learned that Swedish fish do not taste like fish. 

Next year she's giving out ready made cards because I can't rationalize 4 hours of crafting. And Swedish fish are expensive.