Sunday, December 30, 2012

Idea of the Day + Potty Training Update

We started potty training Saturday.  Bear did not wear clothes ALL DAY because we didnt have to go anywhere.  He used the potty 5 times and had 5 accidents.  One accident was because he wasn't really sure what to do about poop and the others were because I put "big boy" pants on him before he was ready and he didnt really understand that they didn't work like diapers.

Today (Sunday) we did MUCH better.  He wore a diaper last night and for nap today and went pants-less the rest of the day with NO accidents until right before bed (he got distracted). Hooray! Unfortunately I don't have tomorrow off so I am hoping he can go most of the day in big boy pants.  We shall see!

I did NOT do any "rewards" system as some have recommended and like I had originally planned for two reasons; firstly, the rewards (stickers, snacks, etc) have only caused issues, meltdowns and stress in the past and secondly, I had an internal battle with myself on whether or now thats how I really want to train him, I don't want him to expect rewards, especially since he will be at school or with Nana for other parts of this process.

By day two I, as a parent, learned that sticking with it is KEY! I was afraid I would give in and give him pants but after telling him he doesn't need them only twice, he gave up and went with it only to improve the following day.  This was a GREAT bonding weekend, because I had to be 100% focused on Bear and constantly asking him if he had to use the potty we came up with great indoor games and got lots of cleaning done together. He actually HELPED pick up his toys!

During a watercolor excursion we decided to face paint.  I wanted to share this one specifically because it is something you and your kids can do together any day at any time - only takes water and non-toxic watercolors (most are) and a paintbrush or two.  Also really great that is washes right off and it's not somehting your child gets to do alot.  We first did a hungry caterpillar on his cheek which changed into a "war paint" of sorts on the other side, arms and belly.  Threw him in the tub and  - all gone!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Snowy Day & Recipes

Just a plain post today.  It's finally snowy here and Bear is thrilled (me not so much).  I am looking forward to some hot cocoa and maybe a stew for dinner.  I just wanted to share this super quick family favorite that only takes about 30 minutes cook time and about 10 prep.

Poppy's Quick-Stew

1 Onion - whatever you have pearl onions work too
10 Little red potatoes - the kind that come in a bag
1 bag frozen broccoli
1 large tomato
2 Carrots (OR handfull of baby carrots)
1 lb Cube Steak
Beef Bullion - we use the better than bouillon low sodium paste
1/2 Cup Flour
2 Bay leaves
Olive Oil
1 tbs Butter
2 Cups hot water

How to:
Cut the potatoes into even 1 inch cubes, chop onion into bite size pieces as well as carrots. Set aside.

In a shallow dish combine 1/2 cup flour, 1 tbs rosemary, 1 tsp thyme and a few grinds of pepper.  Mix together and remove 2 tbs of mixeture to set aside.  Coat both sides of the cube steak.  In a large skillet, put 1 tbs butter and 2 tbs olive oil on medium heat.  Once sizzling, add cube steak and brown both sides. Toss the cut vegetables and bag of frozen broccoli and 2 bay leaves on top and add 2 cups of hot water and 1 bullion cube.  Cover and bring to boil.

In the bowl with your flour mixture add 2 tbs cold water and whisk until mixed in. Pour slowly into the skillet while mixing.  Let simmer on medium heat until sauce thickens.  If the sauce is not getting thick, add more flour/cold water mixture.

Slice tomatoes thin and put on top of the stew and sprinkle with dill.  Let cook covered until tomatoes are hot.  Remove bay leaves and serve.

I like to make biscuits to go with this but it is a perfect quick meal that tastes like it came from a crock pot - yum!


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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Potty Training...

Well, I think it's time for Bear to start using the potty...for real this time.  He took a nap at Nana's and she found him in a puddle with no pants on in bed and a clean diaper on the floor of the bathroom and pee on the potty seat.  I am SUPER proud of him for trying to use the potty all on his own but sad that I haven't even really tried to potty train.  We were doing really well for a while and then he lost interest.

I think it's best for all involved to just jump in and take the "24 hour" method head on!  And I figure just after Christmas is the PERFECT time, it's snowy so we wont be going out and we have tons of new and exciting toys to play with.  Unfortunately, stickers dont work out for Bear.  I was letting him choose one sticker after using the potty but then it would turn into a meltdown because he either wanted more or chose the "wrong" one and wanted to pick a different one.

Here is the Saturday game plan...

Mommy gets up and goes to get her morning coffee.
Daddy goes to work.
Mommy and Bear spend the day doing a bunch of activities around the house including but not limited to:
Play Cowboys
Make Cookies
Go on a treasure hunt
Painting Craft
New Movie
Pack up the ornaments
Read new books
Wikki Sticks
Special Lunch/Snack
Dance Party

I'll have to figure out the whole "prize" system since I don't think I'll be able to let him choose.  Maybe throw all the "pee" prizes in one bag and let him put his hand in and pull one out rather than letting him see what he chooses and another for "poo" prizes.

I figure we'll set a timer for 15 minutes and try to go potty every 15 minutes.  I am not supposed to put a diaper on him ever again after this so we'll see how it goes!!

Wish me luck,

Can anyone offer advice?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Two Hour Teepee Tutorial - DIY

I do most things last minute, especially this Christmas! Bear has had a lingering cold since early November.  He spiked a fever on Tuesday and I took him to emergency walk in clinic to see what was up.  They told me he was just "catching the same cold over and over", which left me feeling uneasy since he had a fever and green boogies ((infection).  I called my pediatrician on Thursday because he was so sick he couldn't even play and we went in on Friday morning to find out he has an ear infection, strep throat AND viral pneumonia. He's been on antibiotics for three days now and is back to himself! YAY!

Anyways - I have been planning on making Bear a teepee for Christmas since we moved into our new house in October.  I put it off until this morning - yes, less than 48 hours before Christmas.  Everything cost me less than $13 and only took a 2 hour assembly.

After much research online (well pinterest) it looked like most people had this as a "center piece" for a room.  We (like most) just dont have that kind of space to dedicate so this is made to fit into a corner but the directions can be altered to accommodate a larger teepee.  Mine also collapses VERY EASILY to fit into a corner and sets up again just as easy.

1 - 6 x 9 Canvas Drop Cloth - $10 Home Depot
2 - 1" x 3" x 8' Strapping - $1.34 each Home Depot
Good cutting scissors
Sewing Machine
Thread (I used what was in the sewing box - half is sewn in orange, half in red)
Tape measure
Straight edge (you can use the strapping)
Table saw - OR have one of the lads at Home Depot cut it or you

How To:
Step 1 (Strapping)

Cut the strapping the long way so your pieces are now 1" x 1.5" x 8'  I wanted my teepee only 6' tall so I just the strapping again to be roughly 6'  To looks a little more realistic they are all a few inches off.  This way the top sticks are uneven.

Step 2 (Canvas)

A - Lay out your canvas. It will be wrinkly, if you want your teepee perfect then iron it first, I was not about to spend 30 minutes ironing a 6 x 9 piece of canvas.

B - Mark the center of the canvas on the top and bottom.
C - Measure 3' from each end and mark again.
D - Using your straight edge or a piece of strapping put one end at the center mark and the other at one of the 3' marks and draw your first angle
E - Using the center mark make your second angle in the other direction.
F - On the opposite end from your point, use your edge to go from the 3' mark to 3' mark and do the same on the opposite side
You should now have three triangle, the center one going to opposite direction from the other two.
G - Cut along your lines (4 cuts total)

Step 3 (Straps)

A - Using one of the extra edge pieces, cut out 9 8" x 4" pieces of canvas.  These will be used to hold the wood strapping to your canvas.
B - Fold in both sides 1/2" (length wise see below) and stitch

C - Do this for all 9 straps

Step 4 (Sewing your tent)

A - Pin all of your triangles together leaving 1" to sew. 
B - fold your straps in half and tuck into the seams about 2' apart, you will want one at the bottom one half way and one 6-8" from the top
C - Pin them in place (unfortunately I dont have a picture of all my pins but you can reference the image of the straps sewn in place)
D - Sew along where your pins are leaving 1/2 - 1" from the edge
Note: Leave about 4" unsewn from the top (narrow end of teepee) to allow room for the sticks
E - Do this for all 3 sides

Step 5 (Finishing up)

A - Turn your tent right side out (so the straps are inside)
B - Run your strapping though the loops (work from the wide end)
This step can be a bit frustrating since it gets all tangles up but go slowly and dont worry about imperfections
C - Cut a long 2.5' piece of canvas to tie the top of your teepee in place.
D - Pinch small 1/8" holes in to top of each triangle
E - Stand up your teepee and run the long piece of canvas through the holes and wrap it around the wood strapping until it holds and tie tightly.
D - Cut a slit in the center on one of the triangles until you are happy with the size of the door.

You can decorate with paint or ribbon or other kinds of fabric.  I left mine very simple.  For tiebacks on the door i just used more canvas but think ribbon would look nice.  Please leave questions in the comments section if you have any!!

To store it, just grab it from the top and it collapses to fit in the corner like so...

Setup after the initial frustrating trying to tie it part is very easy!  The whole process with no directions took me about 2 hours (during Bear's nap).  The shape of this (triangle base) is made to fit into a corner but if you use the same directions and make more triangles to sew together, you can use more poles and have a larger teepee

Best of luck and Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Custom Wrapping Paper - 8 Bit Dinos

I made this super awesome wrapping paper for Bear at work and had a bunch of fun wrapping some gifts last night - check it out!

Also I found a great Men's gift for Tim for Christmas.  I am not sure if it will arrive in time but I got him a subscription to DollarShaveClub So he gets razors every month (I did the math and this is much cheaper) Be careful, you DO have to cancel or you get billed monthly.  Our plan is to do a few months and then we'll have enough to last (6 blade razors).  Also you get $1 cash back for going through Ebates!

I hope he loves it!!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Advent Calendar: Day 15

So Advent Day # 15 was another fantastic one - while Mommy and Daddy had a night on the town and attended a few Christmas parties, Bear and Nana went on the Polar Express!!

We watched the movie twice before he went and he had so much fun drinking coco, riding the train and seeing Santa! He even held the bell up to his ear and repeatedly said "I believe!"

I was sad I didn't get to go but very happy he had a great time :)


Don't forget Ebates for your last minute shopping!! My next check will be $53 (Just use my button below)

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Advent Calendar & Christmas Learning

I have to admit  I am totally against the "Elf on the Shelf" thing.  I remember a moment when I was about 3 or 4 and I went snooping around for Christmas presents only to get really freaked out because I thought that because I was naughty and went looking around for presents, Santa wouldn't give me anything for Christmas.  As far as I understand the Elf from Elf on the Shelf is there to watch your kids 24/7 and report back to Santa who is being naughty or nice, instilling a fear of constantly being watched.  I also don't agree with the Elf being able to be naughty or mischievous.

I read an article in Parenting magazine recently on why you should let your kids break the rules (once in a while) and did some serious parent soul searching on what my views are on Christmas and introducing Santa into our traditions.

I don't want Bear to have a moment of panic somewhere down the line when he is scared he will be forgotten on Christmas for being naughty.  I found an episode of Mr. Rogers where Daniel Tiger is afraid that Santa watches him while he's sleeping and Santa comes to the neighborhood and Elaina tells him to confront Santa with his fear.  Santa tells him what he is not watching while he's sleeping but he is in all of us and is the spirit of Christmas.  One of Mr Rogers' friends also sings a great song with the line "Sometimes even good people do bad things" and make mistakes.  I like that, it's telling my child that even though he may make a bad decision now and again, that doesn't label him as naughty or bad.

Even thought Bear is only 2.5 and he doesn't always understand  he was a little fearful of Santa until after we watched the episode.  Now he is actually excited to go meet him!

There you have it, my view on Santa!

For more advent fun:
Day 4: Open up a new Christmas book. I chose "Bear stays up for Christmas"
Day 5: Make coco.
Day 6: Choose a Special Treat. AKA leftover Halloween candy
Day 7: Make ornaments with Mommy

and....drum eight...

Sesame Street Live!!! I highly recommend this, it was tons of fun! We were center to the stage in the third row of the floor seats! So great, Bear was nervous at first but got very into it in the middle.  Just be prepared to buy a $15 toy just because EVERY other little boy has one.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Advent Calendar 2012

I decided I was bored with the usual advent calendar you get at the Christmas Tree Shop or rite aid so we decided to instead do something special each day!  I thought of 25 things ranging from traditions we already have like decorating the tree and opening Christmas jammies on Christmas Eve to new ones like special holiday books and donating toys we no longer play.   I lucked out, some days end up being REALLY awesome for Bear because I was able to include December events we've had planned for a long time like Sesame St LIVE (Thank you Rickie and Katherine) and the Polar Express with Nana.

Anyways, I printed them on cards and put them in envelopes.  Since Bear can't read yet, I've been putting them with what the activity will be.  Here is where we are so far...


Edited 12.3.12 to add:  For the Cinnamon Ornaments (I made these as a kid) I didn't want to buy 1 cup of cinnamon so we used 1 2 oz jar of cinnamon and 6 oz of flour (to make 1 cup) mixed with 1/2 cup elmers school glue and 1/4 cup applesauce.  Mix until doughy and add more flour/cinnamon until it is a workable consistency.  Roll out the dough and cut the shapes with cookie cutters.  We used a straw to cut the holes for hanging.  Lay out on a pan and parchment paper and store for 24 hours in a dry climate.  Once hard, string and hang!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Stocking Stuffers under $10...

...That your kids will actually enjoy!  I keep seeing lists of stocking suffers and everything I have found is either way too young for Bear or way to generic.  Afterall nobody knows my kid better than me so why should he get socks?  I'm sorry but you get socks for someone who you are not sure what to your husband :)

This is my stocking stuffer list!

$4.95 - Picture Projector (Dinosaurs) Yup - a flashlight that makes giant dinosaurs on the wall!

$1.00-7.95 - Slinky Fun for a girl or a boy and it can either be the original slinky or one from the dollar store

$6.95 - Incog-neato Mustaches AMAZING!

$5.00 - Tattly Cute tattoos for cute kids

Sheriff Badge (Dollar store)
Various Colors of PlayDough (Dollar Store)
$5-10.00 Wikki Stix Craft stores have them and they are fun but dont poke you like pipe cleaners
Plastic Animals (Dollar or Toy Stores)

$4.95 Jacob's Ladder I loved this when I was a kid :)

$9.95 Nesting Doll Robots I got another set last year for Tim and Bear loved them
Micro-Mini Matryoshkas - Robot

$7.54 Crystal Crayons Sweet!
Kikkerland Crystal Crayons, Set of 6

$7.99 Hot Wheels 5 Pack
Hot Wheels 5 Car Gift Pack (Styles May Vary)

The of course an orange in the toe :)

What are you giving your littles for Christmas?


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Painted Birch Kids Room - DIY

Over Thanksgiving I came accross this pin which lead to a conversation with my sister about just painting the birth trees right on Bear's wall rather than dreaming of spending $120+ on them.  I figured I would never ever be able to pull it off so didn't put much more thought into it.  Then this afternoon we went to Home Depot and I decided to just do it.  I am not a pro-painter but I they came out AMAZING!  Bear loves his room!  Before bed tonight we put on his stars night light (projects stars on the ceiling) and lay next to the trees under the stars for a bedtime story, magical.

Painted Birch Tutorial

Scotch Masking tape 3/4 inch thick will do ($1.99) - I did NOT use the blue tape because I've found that it doesn't stick well to our walls. The scotch masking tape was significantly cheaper and didn't peel off any of the paint.
Gliden Flat Matte paint ($9.49) - I just got the small container in the trim aisle. These trees will not work on white walls unless you get a darker color paint and do reverse.
Painting Sponge OR Edge Brush ($2.50-4.99) - The edge brush is not a paint brush it looks like a flat roller piece on an orange handle. I used this like a sponge since I didnt have one so a sponge would do fine.

Step 1 - Prep your walls. Wipe them down with a dry cloth if fairly clean and if your walls have not recently been painted or are particularly dirty use warm water and let dry.  Plan how many trees you want and where.

Step 2 - Make your outlines.  Starting from the bottom of the wall, tape the base of your tree.  The great things about birch trees is they are very hard to mess up.  They have not many branches and, for the most part, are straight. To make them look like birch, I ripped small strips of tape and placed them randomly over the center and outlines of the trees.  The "knots" in the tree I just made with tiny pieces of tape in a circle.  Work ONE tree at a time so you have a better concept of the amount of space you end up with.

Step 3 - Paint! Sponge paint the inside of your tree in a fairly thin layer but make sure you are covering over the wall color.  Work from the top down and then repeat the process so the color is nice and bright.  The texture from using a sponge is OK because trees have texture.

Step 4 - Peel!  Peel off the tape from top to bottom while paint is still wet.  Go slow and some smudges are OK.  Dont forget all the bits in the middle that were painted over, you may have to gently scratch these with your nail to get a piece up to peel.

Voila!  I only did one wall with three trees today and plan to do the opposite wall tomorrow - and will post the pics :)

Any questions, just comment!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Quick Craft Sunday

In honor of Thanksgiving and our (small but still notable) Native American heritage we decided to make brightly colored arrows for Bear's room.  I am working on making his room with a nature inspired theme and he finally got a "big boy bed" this weekend (great find from  I ended up getting $70 off in savings and coupons) so we did a celebration craft.

This craft was sparked by these  but mine are WAY more simple.

You will need:
[2] 4' Dowels I used 1/4" thick ones for .88 at homedepot
[6] Different Colors of thin craft foam I got a big pack of small sheets for $1 at dollar tree
Kids craft paint in a variety of colors $1 at dollar tree
Exacto-knife or hand saw
Paint Brush another $1 for the multipack at dollar tree
Glue-gun with clear glue

How to:
Cut each of the dowels to be 1.33' long and sand the cut ends to be rounded.  Cut your foam into 3-4" half feathers (a half oval is OK) you will need 3 half feathers per arrow.  Make fringe on the rounded edge of each of the feathers.

Your or your kiddo can paint the dowels. We made the rounded tips grey and the base of each yellow with various colored bands in random spots.  Once the paint is try, hot glue the straight edge of the feathers to the non-pointed end of the arrows.  Glue 3 one each at 90 degree angles from eachother.  You can put 4 on each but I left one side "flat" because I intend to hang them on the wall somehow.

I ended up doing all the work on these and Bear pretends they are flowers or rockets but they are still tons of fun!!  I cant figure out a good way to hang them because for some reason the 3M stickies dont work well on Bear's walls. 

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

To a new mom...

I saw a Carters commercial this afternoon with the line "When a child is born, so is a mom."  I was thinking about how meaningful it is for someone to call me "Momma" and depend on me for everything from dinner to bath to scaring away the monsters. The greatest thing about being Mom is getting to be a kid again and make the little things is life magic for another being.

Here are a few things for all new mom's (going through long sleepless nights and not being able to wait until their kid will enjoy the zoo) to look forward to...

- By age two the whole family will be eating on neon colored "take n' toss" plates because it is simply just easier that way.

- The gas in your baby's tummy you dread now because it causes screams, will soon cause endless laughter.

- Toys are totally overrated. We STILL prefer tupperware, paper tubes and boxes.

- Your child's imagination will blow your mind as soon as he/she is talking. Be a pirate too and make the living room your lagoon.

- You will go from "Ya, I'm little" to "Big boy pants just like daddy's!!" overnight.

- When your child is old enough to understand trips like the zoo and a museum, it becomes ALOT harder for you. Relax and run around too.

- Christmas is way better with kids.  Traditions are made and old ones honored.

- Throughout the day when times get stressful, you'll find yourself wishing for a slobbery little kiss and tight hug to make it all better.

- "Preggo-Brain" becomes "Mom-Brain" and you forever have an excuse for forgetting an appointment or two.

- If you get sick of singing the same songs to your baby, it is 100% worth it. They will remember the songs and sing them to you all horribly mixed up and jumbled and it is THE cutest thing.

Good luck, hang tight and spend EVERY moment falling in love.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Christmas Deal of the Day

Groupon has a great deal to CitrusLane they are offering a 3 Month Subscription for $35 (normally $75) for those of you not familiar with Citrus Lane, it is a monthly subscription for kids goodies.  You input your childs name, age and gender and they will mail a package to your home each month with cute toys, healthy snacks and useful products for your child based on their information!! So awesome.

The one they sent to toddlers in August looked like this:

To get your's go here

The best part is they tend to get organic and green items that would normally be pretty costly on their own but for $12 per month for 3 months is not bad. I plan to put this stuff in Bear's stocking :)

I will post photos of what we get when it comes in the mail! Also they have some pretty neat stuff on their pinterest boards.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Occupied Toddler

I often like to include Bear on what I make in the kitchen but sometimes, it's just not that interesting or not age appropriate.  I saw a pin (I wish I could find it) for putting paint in a bag and letting them play with it on the counter.  Since Bear is smart and a "picker", as in he picks at things, I had to re-enforce the bag.

I used:
Quart size double zip baggie
Green crayola finger paint (the key here is water based)
Clear packing tape

I put the paint in the baggies, got ALL the air out and zipped it shut.  Taped it on the top and bottom to the counter (horizontal) and then used smaller strips to cover it (vertical).  There is NO WAY that paint will get out of there and it entertained him for a full 15 minutes before moving on to another task.

I left it on the counter (been there 3 days) and he has played with it a few minutes here and there each day.

Definitely a fun, easy activity!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Books Books Books!

I love reading to Bear but unfortunately the "under two" age group gets more learning books than story and lesson books, which after the 30 millionth time, are no fun.  Bear is now in the stage of his two's where he likes listening to an entire book being read and actually takes from it.

The holidays are coming fast and I know that we are quite broke now that we have our own home so when I find a good deal or come across a couple bucks I will jump on the opportunity to collect for Christmas.  The greatest deal I stumbled on when I went to my normal was a new sister site: BookWorm.  They have two offers going on - you can only use one so at checkout try the 30% Off 3 Books (BBOKWORM30) OR try the one for buy 3 get 1 free (1FREEBOOK).  I ended up using the 30% off since I bought only books under $12 that was worth $2 more.  To make the deal super sweet if you go through Ebates first you get an extra 2.5% cash back.  Now that's what I call some good double dippin!

Here's what I got:
Where the Wild Things Are $8.95 (-$2.69)
 Blueberries for Sal $6.89
Corduroy (with plush toy) $12.89 (-$3.87)
Make Way for Ducklings $7.99 (-$2.40)

$27.76 with $.70 cash back

Not bad for 4 books and a stuffed bear!!

Also been lurking around BJ Wholesale and found 70 hot wheels cars for $19

Good Luck!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Gearing Up...

...for BIG BOY things that is!

We did it! We finally got all moved in and Bear has his own room. We've got him down to only babas at night which is a big accomplishment. He's shown an interest in the potty again (finally) and I have gotten him to bed in his own bed (at least to start) every night for a week! Hooray!

Thinking big boy pants and cups are in our near future.

Where are all of you at with your toddlers?


"Daddy, when I grown up I chew gun n drink coffees!" - Bear

Friday, September 28, 2012

Coloring Keepsake

I started this project for Bear

It is a coloring book with him and all of his friends and family.  I have been doing it on the Wacom tablet I use at work (since mine is not set up yet) and putting the original picture in photoshop in black and white and then tracing on another layer.  It's tedious but is coming along super.  I am hoping to have 10-15 pages done and plan to give it as a Christmas present.

I also thought this would make a really neat Birthday card.  Do a coloring picture of the birthday boy/girl on the front of the card and give a few crayons inside.

If you don't have the tools I use for the computer you can also just lay a blank sheet of paper over a blown up photograph and trace with a thin black marker.


Update 10/2/12 : I do know there is an effect in photoshop that does something similar but decided that there was too much cleanup involved since I didnt want the background, only the basic outline of the kids. If you do not have a wacom tablet and want to do this use the effect instead :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Book Launch!!

In the launch of MonsterSillybets I have made a simple Alphabet Book to go along with the plush little guys :)

If anyone is interested in my pre-order sale please order here and use offer code: MonsterBook at checkout!

Will make a great Christmas gift <3 p="p">


Friday, August 24, 2012

Simon Says...

Brush your teeth!

The other night Bear was wound up, rolling on the floors, flailing his arms and spinning in circles. All for some unknown excitement that probably only a two year old would understand, but as usual, it was nearing bedtime. He did not want to get ready for bed.

I am sure this scenario if becoming familiar to you all as well, so I present to you "Simon Says". Since "Mommy says..." never seems to fly.

Get the energy out: Simon says...
...jump up and down
...wiggle like a worm
...stand up
...touch your nose
...touch your toes a silly dance
...hop like a frog to the bathroom
...mess up your hair a naked dance
...touch your ears
...scrub your tummy
...swim like a fish
...blow bubbles in the water
...make a silly face
...dry off
...go pee in the potty
...jump up and down
...brush your teeth
...find your pjs
...give daddy kisses

In 15 minutes of Simon Says you have; taken a bath, gone potty, brushed teeth, gotten dressed and said goodnight.

it has worked two days in a row. You have to say everything fast like a game and throw in silly stuff along with the real stuff to keep it fun!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Go Back to Savings

So I am really excited that I got my first check from Yes, it was only for $2.07 but once we move we will be able to order more bulk items and get even more back! If anyone wants to try this method I highly recommend ebates over similar websites. It is easy to use and offers more coupons than a bunch of others I found. I have mainly been using and it's affiliates through ebates since they have just about everything we need for home products.

If you want to see how I do it, check out my previous post HERE :)

If you do, be sure to use my link!

PS taking kids to the grocery store or bulk store is a pain. This however is easy :)


Toy Bin Rotation: Staying Organized & Entertained!

In a facebook discussions about how our poor houses are overrun by toys and child’s things, I decided I would share an idea I heard that seemed brilliant! As I have mentioned we have bins that are marked that makes easy cleanup, but honestly, we don’t always clean up :)

Toy Rotation: One fb mommy said that she has several plastic bins and splits up all the kids toys between the bins and rotates them out.

How to: Get 2-4 Bins and mark them numerically (1-2 or 1-4). Divide the toys between the bins. Personally I would keep all the construction vehicles in one, cars in another, rains in the nest. etc. Keep sets and games together. But don’t put only puzzles and books in one. Keep it balanced.

If you made two bins then every other week have the kid(s) put all the toys back into the bin and switch out with another (if you chose 4 bins then switch out weekly).

It’s like getting new toys all the time! The bins are easily stackable and can be put away and not take up too much space. I think this is brilliant!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Silly Things My Kid Says: FREE Printable

I've seen little books made of quotes from small kids. As Bear get's more verbal and is starting to make complete sentences, I decided I want to start making a book myself.

This morning while I am getting dressed and Bear is stealing my clothes:
Bear (bra in hand)
Me: Bear I need that please
Bear: No I need it!
Me: But Bear, you don't have boobies.
Bear: Yes I do. See? (lifts up shirt)
Me: But Mommy has bigger boobies.
Bear: Me too. See? (pointing at nipples)

ahhh - so priceless!

Well anyways, I have made these to share:

You can download them HERE!

You can punch a hole in the corner and keep them together with a binder ring :)


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My OH My

Has life gotten the best of me!!  Blogging has been scarce lately (I blame pinterest and sad efforts to boost my resume). We are preparing to buy a new house and by preparing I mean we have a closing date approaching quickly and we haven't done a darn thing! I am so very excited for Bear to finally have his own room, but I am also nervous about how he is going to react to such a big change. We are now packed in like sardines in a one bedroom city apartment with a efficiency kitchen (not so efficient I might add) going o a three bedroom ranch with fenced in yard (woohoo). I hope he will adjust quickly :)

Has anyone had any experience on moving a toddler and a little about what to expect?

Now for a little about you and less about me: I;ve been a big fan of hand me downs and kid fashion lately and wanted to share a few fun tutorials on making ordinary kids clothes a little more unique!

Shrinky Dink Buttons & Shoe Labels: Replace the buttons on kids jackets with big buttons made from shrinky dink paper! You can make them any color, pattern or draw letters on them!! Also if you've ever noticed on sketchers where you thread the lace in first they have a little plastic piece the lace goes through with an "s" (if you dont know what I am talking about I'm sorry :( ) make one of those for your kids laces with their name :)  Button Tutorial HERE

Ribbon, ribbon and more ribbon: use ribbon as laces, hand made hair bows, sew them onto coat seams or cuffs of pants. This may sound girly but truck ribbon or dark solids look cute. Also for a "suspenders" look, sew straight ribbon onto a pain tshirt OR just make suspenders!

Nothing a little dye cant fix: I never really think of dying my own clothes but it's so simple and easy to do! Dye denim for cool colored kids pants or use bleach for an "acid wash" look.

Bleach: Make designs on denim or dark colored clothing with bleach pens, then rinse and wash - comes out pretty cool :)

Sweater Vest from an Old Sweater - tutorial HERE

Make your own kids pants - tutorial HERE

How do you upcycle??


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cheap, kid friendly recipes!

for your little cooks I did a kid friendly guest post on my lovely sisters blog. Check it out here:


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Outdoor Play: 1

Yay Summer! I am so happy we get to play outside now. As you know, toddlers are too young for water balloons. You also spend a huge amount of time saying "don't throw that!" and teaching your kids htat throwing is not OK. I saw these Sponge Balls and thought it was brilliant!

You will need:
Large Sponges from the $1 Store - ones without any scrubby pad or soap and pretty colors look better
Two buckets of water - also found at the $1 store or use big pots/small trash cans
Zip Ties
Nail Clippers

How To:
Cut your sponges into thirds the long way
Group 6 or so of the strips together
Tighten a zip tie around the middle
Use nail clippers to cut off the excess zip tie as close as possible to avoid anything pointy

Stand a few feet apart and the object of the game is to get as many of your sponge balls into the other person's bucket. Riles: Get really wet and laugh alot!


Monday, July 2, 2012


Any Target shoppers out there?

I came upon this on Pinterest and thought I would share. The source is MommySavers. I am not certain if this is true but the source seems reliable and I have noticed that kids clothing ending 4 often disappears the next week. Hmmm...

** Clearance and Low Priced items normally hang out on endcaps and are often hidden :)

** Typical Markdown Schedule at Target (may vary but keep an eye out)

Monday Target Markdowns: Kids’ Clothing, Stationery (office supplies, gift wrap), Electronics
Tuesday Target Markdowns: Women’s Clothing and Domestics
Wednesday Target Markdowns: Men’s Clothing, Toys, Health and Beauty
Thursday Target Markdowns: Lingerie, Shoes, Housewares
Friday Target Markdowns: Cosmetics, Housewares, Automotives
**Clearance prices ending in 8 will be marked down further, prices ending in 4 are as low as they will go.
**Repackaged or returned items - I know this first hand, I bought a graco changing table marked from $115 to $14.99 because there was a small knot in the wood. 
Happy Shopping!

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Little Cash on the Side

So I made the post a while back on Nifty Ways to Save Big and this is an expansion on that post.

I mentioned how awesome Viggle is and I still use it daily. It's an app for free for Android and iPhone that lets you check into TV shows/movies and collect points that can be redeemed for gift cards of various kinds. I have also been lurking groupon and finding good deals for date night ($15 for $50 worth of food).  I also found shop kick that is similar to Viggle, you use your phone to check into stores and collect points that can be redeemed for gift cards.

I have found the glorious glue that connects all these wonderful apps/sites!!!  Ebates is a website created by two ex-lawyers in internet fraud. All you have to do is log in, use their website to get to sites like, and HUNDREDS of others.  I'm normally not a huge fan of endorsing websites but these are all super great! You go through them to shop on those websites (using the gift cards you got FOR FREE from Viggle and ShopKick) and get cash back.  Then ebates sends you a quarterly check for the amount you've earned from shopping basically for free - make sense?

Well I got a great pair of shoes from old navy with my gift cards and got 2% cash back from ebates! I am so excited!  Also if you search "ebates scam" on google, nothing comes up, completely legit.

I always spend WAY too much money when i go to Target by myself so I have decided to shop got all of bear's diapers and wipes. This way i don't "accidentally" throw things in my cart and it just so happens that a giant box of diapers, a giant box of wipes and cat litter all add up to $50.66 so I qualify for free shipping.  I have because a genius!

Anyone have any neat tricks to share??

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Exciting News!

Hello Mommies!

I have been so neglectful of this poor blog, but I am proud to say that my primary focus lately has been launching Monster Sillybets as a legit product. There are BIG things in the Monster Sillybet future :)

Please, please if you haven't liked Monster Sillybets on Facebook, I would greatly appreciate it if you would > HERE

I ave also finally launched our brand new store! Monster Sillybets I have yet to make our first sale but hey, I am trying!

Now for some mommy stuff:

Bear's party went GREAT! He loved it so much and had a blast with all of his little buddies. Special thanks goes out to my friend, Erin, for playing photographer for the day!

I've come across some awesome pins for toddlers and I just had to share one - photos and credit will come shortly but I dont have too much time (tackling a flea problem in our house - ick) 

Get Your Kid to Help Clean - Make a 1 foot by 1 foot square on your kitchen on wood floors out of painters tape. Tell your kiddo to sweep all the dirt into the square. Its a game. It's making them feel like they are helping. WINWIN!

Try it - Bear loves it :)


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

DIY Workbench: Day 1

We have been planning out with workbench since Christmas and have finally started to build! This is our progress from Day 1:

Keep in mind we are not experts so I would classify this as beginner with big tools. We have a basic idea of construction but could have probably done this more efficiently with more thought or expertise. 

We made a frame (very solid) from 3 8' 2"x4"s ($1.79 each and we picked through to find really straight ones)
The top and shelf are heavier plywood that came as 2'x2' ($6.49)
Pegboard sides and doors (not yet in picture) 2'x4' ($7.99)
Honey Stain/Gloss Finish - we have this ($0)
Hinges for the doors ($4.99)
Red Spray Paint for the doors ($2.49)

this is really all we bought and used other scrap hanging around along with Tim's tools (circular saw, jig saw, nail gun, screw driver, sand paper, grinder thingy, pencil and measuring tape, rulers) 

The final size is 30 inches tall in the back, the counter is 20 inches from the floor and 2 feet wide by 18 inches deep. Perfect size for a tot!

I will post the final instructions upon completion :)

I love projects!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Part Two of Father's Day Post

So here is the craft half of my Father's Day gift idea. I got the idea from Life in the Green House and modified it to fit my family.

I plan to make three different colored sticks Red, Blue & Green
Red - Family Outings
Blue - Mommy & Daddy Outings
Green - Mommy & Daddy Stay@Home Dates

we always drive around or see and add for somewhere and go "we should go there!" and then when we have time/money we forget and don' know what to do.

I thought this would be a good father's day gift specifically for Tim because it can be a "daddy's pick" jar and also Bear can help me paint and decorate :)

Family Outings - Story Land, Beach Trip, Train Ride
Mommy & Daddy Outings - Bowling & Beer, Drinks at 188, Movies, Drive In
Mommy & Daddy Stay@Home Dates - Burgers & Zombie Movies, Wii Shakes & Popcorn, Daddy Cooks & Chick Flicks


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Date Night - Possibly Father's Day?

So this one is between you and hubby - possibly on father's day evening?

I have made this meal 6 times in less than two months trying to perfect it and I have finally gotten the whole meal down to tasty.

On the menu: Tipsy Chicken over Angelhair with Vegetable Gratin & Crunchy Garlic Bread

Ingedients (Tipsy Chicken)
2 Boneless Chicken Breasts
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese (sprinkle cheese)
Mrs Dash Table Blend
2 Cloves Garlic
Pinot Grigio - I get the yellowtail because it's <$6 but still a wine I drink anyways
Salt & Pepper
Angel Hair Pasta

How To: (Tipsy Chicken)
Pour 1/4 milk into a sallow bowl. on a plate (I use disposable for this) put 1 Cup of grated Parmesan and 2 tbs Mrs Dash and mix together. Wash and try chicken and cut each breast into three smaller pieces. I just them the long way and no more than 1" thick. Plunge each piece into milk and then coat in cheese mixture. In a skillet put 1 tbs butter and 1 clove chopped garlic. when pan is hot add chicken and flip as soon as the chicken is brown and coating is crispy. Begin boiling water and a dash of salt for the angel hair. Once both sides of the chicken are crispy, add 3/4 cup of Pinot Grigio and let simmer. I flip the chicken a few times until cooked through add more wine as needed. Strain the pasta and place the fully cooked chicken on top.

For the sauce leave excess from the chicken in the pan and keep the heat, add 1 cup wine, 1 tbs butter and a few pinches of Mrs Dash and whisk. Cook until wine is browned and reduced to 3/4 cup of sauce. Our over chicken and pasta.

Ingredients (Vegetable Gratin)
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
Italian seasoned bread crumbs
Olive Oil
1 Zucchini
1 Vidalia Onion
Red Pepper
Cherry Tomatoes

How To: (Vegetable Gratin)
Slice the zucchini, onion, leaks and peppers into 1/4 inch rounds. In a cast iron skillet (casserole dish will work but not as well) Layer in this order: Onions, Zucchini, Drizzle Olive Oil, half the cheese, half the bread crumbs, red peppers, leaks, remainder of zucchini and then slice the tomatoes in half and layer on top. Add remaining cheese and breadcrumbs, add a final drizzle and put in the oven at 400 F for 12 minutes or until you can easily poke with a fork. Broil for 3 minutes until the top is crispy.

For the Garlic bread i used butter, fresh garlic NOT garlic powder (ick) and put both generously onto thick cut sourdough and broil for 2 minutes (dont burn it!)

To plate this I put a nest of pasta with two chicken pieces then a slice of the gratin and toast on the side. YUMMY!

There is a craft that goes with this but Bear woke up - see ya!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tray Tag Memory Game - FREE PRINTABLE

This isn't much of a craft but a super fun game!

Bear likes playing all the memory games on the Kindle and it would be nice to have some in the house. I find myself questioning why I should pay $3+ for a game made out of paper that will be destroyed in a day!

Well lucky me works at a mailing company so we have lots of tray tags (can also be bought at staples, there are 10 2"X3.25" punch outs per sheet) so I made these (Free Printable) to share with all of you! If you don't want to bother with the tray tags you can just cut them out and if you are feeling ambitious and the resources are available, laminate 'em!

These are wonderful to keep in your purse of kid bag for restaurants, etc. Since you can always make more, who cares if food spills or they are left behind.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Hello World

Spring time is finally emerging again - I've missed you warmth! Bear's favorite song if "You Are My Sunshine" although he only knows "sunshine, happy, take sunshine" it's still totally adorable!

We recently planned an attack on poor daddy. Bear and I hid behind the side of the garage and bombarded daddy with water guns when he got home on the vroom-vroom. Oh boy THAT was fun. We got really easy to squirt guns from the dollar store and then ran all around the driveway until each of us were soaked through. it was truly one of those moments you wish was on tape (or... CD?)

I feel bad because I am loosing my blogability. As Bear gets older those nifty little things are becoming harder to find. I am thinking the remainder of May will be craft month here on Nifty Things while i get my thoughts situated.

If anyone has anything to contribute please let me know!!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Nifty Ways to Save BIG

So recently I have been dedicating some of my time and going out of my way to find fairly easy ways to save or get some stuff for free. Normally rewards and coupon programs are either too time consuming or not worth it in the end but two programs I found useful.

Groupon: I ended up getting a super deal on Bear's new tricycle and got two years of parenting magazine for $5. Whats great about Groupon is they give you one of these neat links: and every time someone uses that link to buy a Groupon you get $10 off your next purchase! So when you sign up and get your link make sure you use my link to get started :)

Viggle: It's an app for Android and iphones. Basically you watch TV, check in, get points and redeem them for gift cards. I have had the app for about 6 weeks and gotten $25 in Starbucks cards and $20 in Gap/Old Navy Cards! That's a pretty sweet deal for checking into the shows I watch anyways!

Starbucks Cards: If you are a regular at Starbucks like me, you know how much they get you on the prices. I used my Viggle points and redeemed them on the Starbucks app and ended up being a "gold Card Member" and get a free coffee and special offers every 2 weeks. Now that adds up! Sign up for the email newsletter and get a $10 coupon on your kids birthday. 2 is a big year for tricycles and wagons and $10 off isn't a bad deal.

Anyone have some neat and easy money savers?


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Our Day

So I have been very busy and neglecting my poor blog. I have a big running list of poss to write so there is much on the way (I do say this alot, but, for realz!)

So today I am taking a moment to show a day in the life of my family...

and that has been our day so far!