Thursday, August 30, 2012

a propensity for mischief


Monday, August 27, 2012

a giveaway


I love discovering unique t-shirts for my kids. Recently I heard about a company called Kids For Kids, which features artwork created by children in need around the world. The designs are darling, and 10% of the sales go to help orphaned and underprivileged children.

Kids For Kids sent me one of their bodysuits to give away to one lucky reader. It's their Elephant Circle design painted by a talented girl from Swaziland, Africa named Skhanyiso Mdzebele. It's pink, size 12 months, perfect if you have a baby girl or know of someone expecting!


One winner will be chosen at random.

To enter: leave a comment on this post. For an additional entry, tweet this post, share it, or like our Facebook page and leave another comment.

Giveaway ends Monday September 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm Pacific time

Giveaway is now Closed. Winner is commenter #4, Alex Bradley!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

wooden peg people DIY


B has been asking for more people to live in her dollhouse, and recently I noticed that our local craft store had all its wooden figures listed 50 percent off. So I decided to try making some little peg people with acrylic paints and scrap fabric.



First I painted the hair and let that dry completely. Then I painted little outfits. I let each layer dry before adding more details. On a couple of the girls, I attached some fabric skirts using Mod Podge. I tried to make each person unique (a couple are modeled after B and Miles...can you guess which ones?)


Once they were completely dry, I used some spray shellac to seal them (shellac is non-toxic, making it a better choice than polyurethane for toys).


These two I'm setting aside to use as cake toppers for the kids' October birthdays. :)

I have to confess, I really got into this project. Once I realized how easy it was, I couldn't stop envisioning new outfits and hairdos for the peg people. I locked my office door so the kids wouldn't see what I was doing. I probably could have finished the project during one nap time, but I dragged it out over a few days, painting a few more each time the kids slept. It makes for a great rainy day...or in my case HOT August day project.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

and the award goes to...


We always knew Miles would be the first child to need sutures. Though, honestly, I thought it would be the result of stage diving from the back of the couch, or climbing a cactus... or doing a 360-degree back flip with a tail whip off the kitchen table. He's just that kind of kid.

Alas, he bonked his head so innocently. Kris decided to take both kids camping and canoeing this past weekend -- to escape the heat, and to give me a little down time to relax and write.

Miles was walking down a steep boat launch when his feet slipped out from under him and he fell backward. After a lot of tears, and a lot of blood, and a bumpy hour-long drive on dirt roads to the nearest town, he inherited two shiny staples, a handful of stickers and a Beanie Baby stork that he named "Duck" (a gift from the urgent care doc). I wasn't there, but I hear from B and Kris that it was fairly traumatic, especially since he wasn't given any local anesthetic (the pain of the shots would have been worse than the pain of two staples, apparently).


Ice cream followed.

He feels much better now, but we're struggling with the doctor-ordered "no swimming for a week." It's pushing 113F today, and our pool beckons just steps from our back door. It's hard to tell my sweet boy he can't swim.

Still, I'm so thankful it wasn't a bigger injury. I don't know about other parents, but I watch my two toddlers day in and day out, and I wholeheartedly believe it's a miracle each minute they manage to stay out of the emergency room.

Friday, August 10, 2012

have a fun weekend


Thursday, August 9, 2012

there's something you should know... about my armpits

Note: This is NOT a sponsored post or review. No one is paying me to write the following. I'm just really impressed with this product and want to share. 

For all the ways I try to embrace a healthy, nontoxic lifestyle, I've always had one big holdout: deodorant.

I watch what lotions I put on my skin. I carefully choose the safest cosmetics, shampoos and sunscreens for me and my kids. But when it comes to my armpits, I've always turned a blind eye to the long list of toxic ingredients (aluminum, phthalates, parabens) in my favorite brand... because, well, I don't want stinky pits and sweat stains.

I've tried natural deodorants like crystals and natural roll-ons, but was never happy with the results.

Last week a colleague told me about Soapwalla, and after reading rave reviews, I decided to order some.



PEOPLE. This stuff actually works, maybe even better than the toxic crap I had been using. It's 115 degrees outside today, and I am completely dry and smelling lovely (if I do say so myself). Yesterday, it powered me through a workout and a high temperature of 111. We keep our air conditioner set at 84, so I'm always on the warm side.

Downside? It's a little strange rubbing a cream in your armpits. But it quickly dries and doesn't feel sticky at all or leave a residue. It's $12 for 2 oz, and I'm curious how long that will last me. A month? We'll see. It's worth it, in my opinion, to eliminate more cancer-causing chemicals from my life.

Have any of you tried natural deodorants? What was your experience? Share in the comments.

UPDATE 11/1/12: I just reordered! One container lasted me almost 2 months. And I'm still loving it. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

overheard


B, running inside from the garage: "MOMMY! COME QUICK! I promise I will NEVER tell Miles to drive your car again."

***

B: "Mommy, my tummy hurts because I ate dirt."
Why did you eat dirt?
"Well, it looked sort of like food, so I tried it."
Maybe you shouldn't eat anything that's on the ground.
"MOM, you never told me not to eat dirt before, so I just tried it. It's your fault my tummy hurts."

***

Miles, who do you want to put you to bed?
"Daddy."
Why?
"Daddy have a penis."

***


Miles is a little depressed this week because B started school. He'll join her in a couple months when he's three... but for now, he's covering his sad eyes like a distraught celebrity.

Friday, August 3, 2012

re-entry


The transition from there to here is never easy, but this year I planned ahead, created a path out of the fog I knew I would enter the moment I said goodbye to the beloved mountains and people we spent an entire month with.

Miles, getting reacquainted with his toys.

The kids felt it too. The pull. The cloud. Not a small portion of our 14-hour drive home, B explained to me how we could hire a helicopter to move our house and pool to Colorado and set it down next door to her bestie Austin's house. Austin, meanwhile, would be constructing a slide from his second-story bedroom window to our backyard. The only problem that remained: convincing her desert friends to move to the mountains with her. "Do they know it rains there and you can wear long sleeves in the summertime?"

She worked on her sales pitch.

Kris would be out of town the first few days we were home, so I lined up a few hours of childcare so I could unpack, unwind, sort mail, and eat a colossal chopped salad from my favorite cafe without anyone whining or stealing my boiled egg.

Then, I started the list. You know, the annual list of "stuff to do around the house so maybe I won't notice it's hot as hell outside." At the top was painting and organizing my office...but somehow I ended up re-caulking my shower instead, which is something I will never recommend to anyone. My arms are still sore from chipping away at 30 years of old caulk. Aside from some R-rated "caulk" humor I shared via texts with my friend Jes (who re-caulked her shower recently and offered advice), it was a totally unsatisfying experience.
 
Mercifully, Kris came home from his own travels, and I felt more grounded.



It had been nearly three weeks since we last saw him up in Breckenridge, and the whole family exhaled as we came back together. 

Now, I really am looking ahead to re-designing my office. I've been cleaning out the closet, filing paperwork and choosing paint colors. I want a clean, restful, productive space (this room also doubles as the guest room), so I've been looking at pale gray:

 
There will be pops of color elsewhere in the room. Anyone have any experience with Benjamin Moore's Stonington Gray or Cement Gray? Those are my favorites thus far. (I promise to post some before and after pics when the project is done.)

Also, how do you organize and store important paperwork in your home? Do you have a filing cabinet? Boxes? If you're self-employed like me, how long do you hold onto receipts and old tax returns?

Do you have a dedicated office, or does it have to multitask as a guest room or other space?


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