Where Oh Where Do My Spices Go?

We are in the process of moving.  It seems to be a forever long process of eliminating boxes and finding places for things.  We did narrow down a lot of our belongings, but it still doesn't quite seem to fit.  Get ready to gasp, Munchkie's Daddy and I are sharing a closet.  I'm not talking a walk in closet either.  We are learning that we need to change quite a few things in our lives.  I thought we had done a good job of weeding out our belongings, but when they wouldn't all fit on a 17 foot truck I realized that I am going to have to become a master of organization and weed out even further.

When coming to the apartment a few days before we moved my sister-in-law noticed that there were no above counter cabinets in my new kitchen.  Something you think isn't that big of a deal, but it's actually quite a pain.  Do you want to crouch down on the ground to get a glass for a drink of water?  I bet you'll think twice if you have to get on your hands and knees to grab a snack.  I have a lot of spices and we like to throw a little bit of this and a little of that in when we cook.  It would not be practical at all to crouch down to figure out what I would want to throw into a dish.  My thought was to use a shoe organizer on the door to organize my spices.  The shoe organizer was $5 with 24 clear pockets and an over the door spice rack that would have held somewhere around 16 spices was $17.74.  Tough decision.

We have this little area where the furnace is that I am going to use as a pantry and it has a door on it.  It's next to the stove, next to the counter that I will use to prep and it's by all the other food.  Perfect.  I literally just threw the spices in for right now just to get a box off the floor.  I have to go through and organize them, but for now they are put away and not taking any of my precious cabinet space.  I'm pretty happy with my creation.

Hopefully soon when I can sit for a couple minutes without jumping up to do something else or thinking that I should be doing something else I can write more. 


Another T Shirt Idea

I am busy packing up everything I own.  Everything I, Munchkie's Daddy and Munchkie own to be exact.  It's a lot of stuff.  Our tag sale didn't really get go as well as planned, so we're going to drop a huge load of stuff off at a donation center once our new friend Irene decides to move on to play with other innocent people.  

Once I can locate some t shirts I am going to be doing this to most of them.  After loosing some weight, they all look ridiculous.  Not that I want to be wearing t shirts all the time, but I would like to occasionally wear them and be able to leave the house.   Here's a way to do it without anything more than a little bit of time, a large t shirt and a pair of scissors. 

Connect the Dotsons: DIY - Husbands Large T-shirt to fitted: I have been married for four years, all of which my husband has been a coach for the Eagles. I will embarrassingly admit that I do not own ...

Update 9/8/11

I pulled out a t-shirt and while watching a rerun of L&O SVU I followed the blog from the link above.  The t-shirt went from just for bed to maybe I'll wear it outside of the house now.


T Shirts Galore!

We have been spending a lot of time in the car lately.  Driving the five hours to the in-laws, twenty plus hours to see my family and multiple trips to and from our new home is helping me to be a little creative.  I have been finding crafts to do in the car using minimal supplies.  I have been cutting up t shirts that were headed towards a donation bin and trying out all of the ideas I've seen online using nothing more than scissors, a t shirt and sometimes needle and thread or a flourish.  I am pretty happy with what I've done so far and each thing seriously only takes minutes to make.  I take my time and look out the window often to drag out the projects because I know that I have a long time in the car and still get done quickly.  Here are some pictures of my recent crafts with the link on how to make each.  I cannot stress enough how ridiculously easy these are.  Especially the bottom one, you seriously just cut up a t shirt.

 I sewed my first flower to add to this one for Munchkie. 

Getting Crafty- Hipster Scarves


Fast, Easy Frugal Hair Care

Doing my hair is the most time consuming part of my day. It makes me not want to shower because then I dread actually having to do my hair. It takes me so long that Munchkie's Daddy actually suggested that I have a straightening treatment done so that I don't have to be late everywhere I go. I have done this several times and it lasts about six months each time. However, at first I was just a new mom that was so happy to have easy nice looking hair. Then I started to think about all of the chemicals that were being used to create this smooth, shiny hair and started to become hesitant about going through with it again. Then my hair started to fall out. I am very sure that these treatments had something to do with my hair loss. Needless to say, I needed to find another easy alternative.

I sent a message to my hair stylist asking about my options for my hair besides chopping it all off. She suggested I try doing the wave look and sent me a you tube video of how to do it. I tried to do the scrunching hair style and was extremely hesitant about it. I thought that with my previous hair treatments I would never be able to make it work. I found some curl enhancing mousse and sprunch spray to try and was surprised that it actually somewhat turned out.

I have been doing this hairstyle every single day since the first day that I tried.  It literally takes me minutes and may not look amazing, but it looks fine.  My sister in law is staying with us for a few days and brought with her a spray that she uses for her scrunch and go hair.  She said that she bought some online and then saw on a morning show something about making your own salt spray.  She went online and found a recipe to make.  I tried it this morning and was amazed at the results.  Her spray which costs her literally cents, gave my hair more curl than the mousse that I had purchased at the store.  I will be making my own needless to say!

Sea Salt Spray
1 teaspoon sea salt
8oz distilled or purified water
1/2 teaspoon conditioner (coconut for a beachy smell)
1/2 teaspoon (approximately) hair gel

Shake well and spray on damp hair.  Scrunch and twirl to create waves.


Auction for a Beautiful Baby

I just learned about this beautiful little baby who went to heaven this week.  She died of liver failure and her parents are asking for people to consider becoming an organ donor.  They are also holding an auction to help raise money to cover all the medical expenses.

They have some really neat things for auction and you could get some really cool finds while helping out another family.  Whether you need to get a gift for someone, or just want it for yourself, check out these options.

Lake Superior Rock Mirror

Several years ago when I was in between second and third grades we met my family at the lake house in the upper peninsula of Michigan.  While on that trip we decided to go to the log slide at Lake Superior and my grandfather told us of these amazingly smooth rocks that we could collect.  So my grandparents sent us down the extremely steep log slide with our plastic grocery bags to collect rocks and the agreement they would  meet us "right around that corner."  Well my mom, her two sisters, my two cousins, my very young brother and myself reached that corner and realized that the stretch of beach kept going.  And going.  And going.  For six miles.  Keep in mind that we kids were collecting rocks in plastic bags- so you can imagine how well those bags held up.  Hours later we finally met my grandparents with each of our approximately 13 pounds of rocks that the adults were carrying in their shirts.

Needless to say, we have been talking about this trip for years.  This year we went back to that same stretch of beach and to the log slide. I saw these amazing rocks that I just saw as the perfect rocks for some kind of craft.  Initially I thought that I would make a side table, but changed my mind and decided that since mirrors will be essential to making our small apartment appear larger, a mirror would be a better use of the rocks.

I have to say that I am very happy with the results.  It definitely doesn't look professional, but for having done something like this for the first time, I can't complain.  The best part about it is that every time I look at it I will be flooded with all kinds of memories.

To make this mirror I found a mirror at Goodwill for $3.99 with a simple while frame.  Then I bought styrofoam poster board that I created a two inch frame to cover the wooden frame with.  I then cut (and by I cut, I really mean that Munchkie's Daddy cut) strips to frame the outside and inside with.  Then filled the "trough" with plaster of paris and dropped the rocks in.  I had laid out the rocks ahead of time, flipped them over onto a piece of cardboard to put back in the same spot.  But that didn't work at all.  I ended up just putting them in however I could get them to fit.  At the end, I painted all of the visible styrofoam board an ash gray color.  It's still slightly undone, but I was just so proud of it that I had to share.

First of the Goodbyes

Yesterday we went to our favorite store, Whole Foods, to get some fruit for a daycare goodbye party.  Today was the "party" and with all of the regulations at the daycare fresh fruit seems to be the best option.  While there and walking by the body section it completely hit me that I forgot about teacher's gifts.  How could I forget such a thing growing up in a family of teachers? 

The body scrub that caught our eye reminded me of a body scrub I had made a while back and so I decided that I could do better than the asking $14.99 a pound.  Salt is under $2 a pound so with a couple essential oils I decided to make my own.  I tried to recreate the scent we all liked the best, but it didn't quite turn out the way I had hoped.  While I was doing that I also started working on some candles.

These aren't just any candles.  These were candles that I was going to make for Mother's Day.  We bought all of the ingredients in April and a box of ingredients has been sitting on the floor of our kitchen since about then.  I had literally everything ready to go and just never got around to doing it.  I told Munchkie's Daddy that it was because I was supposed to wait until now for teacher's gifts.  So with some sand from the beach just down the street, wax, ocean mist scent and Goodwill glasses, I made some candles.

I have to say that I was so proud of the finished product.  I hope they enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed making it.

I took them in this morning and just walking into the room I started crying.  The daycare has done so much for us in the last 8 months.  They taught Munchkie how to play with other kids and share. How to "use her words," and to "focus."  She learned to wait her turn and be patient.  She learned colors, and potty trained.  She made friends and looked forward to every day there.  They helped me be able to sleep and work without worry.  I also was able to spend a few days completely by myself, which is something a working mother is never able to do.  While most people look down on daycare, I am eternally grateful for all this daycare has been to us.  The first of our goodbyes was an emotional one.

Body Scrub
2 cups salt
1/4 cup safflower oil
several drops essential oil(s) of your choice
-Mix together until thoroughly mixed, but still powdery.  Rub over body and wash off. 


Successful Saturday

I had one of those fantastically successful and productive Saturdays.  The ones that don't stress you out, but the ones that you go to bed and think, oh now that is how I like to spend my day. 

We started off by going to the super cute coffee shop and walking to the farmer's market.  At the farmer's market we found all kinds of goodies.  I just love the farmer's market so much.  I must have walked up and down the aisle at least 5 times surveying each booth's wares.  The first purchase I made was a little jar of eczema cream for poor Munchkie's face.  She started with these patches of eczema this summer and I was so excited to find something natural to try on them.  We are planning on making some tomato sauce with the tomatoes and basil to freeze and slightly replenish our frozen sauce.  The kale will make great kale chips for some healthy snacks and the peppers never made it past the raw stage because we snack on them like apples.  The delicious yellow honey tomatoes.  Oh they're gone.  Have been since an hour after we got home.  Now that is what a tomato is supposed to taste like!
 On the way from the coffee shop to the farmer's market we passed by a tag sale that had a few items that caught our eye.  The first was a dog kennel.  Both of our dogs' kennels were in bad shape and we recently bought a new one at Walmart for one of them, but couldn't handle paying the price for a second kennel.  The kennel at the tag sale was much better quality than the cheapest ones at Walmart and she accepted our offer of $5.  Amazing!  As we were walking away we both stopped and saw this trunk.  Oh my goodness.  We both turned and looked at each other and said, "I've always wanted a trunk."  The seller finally accepted our offer of $21 after some negotiating.  I can not wait to fix it up a little bit.  What perfect storage!  It's not too big and can hold all kinds of things inside of it.  With a little refinishing, paint and new hardware, I think this can be a very beautiful piece that will find the perfect place in our new home.  I was so excited after this find that I wanted to go look at some things for our new apartment.  We went to Ikea to get some ideas on making small spaces work.  Then  I went to JoAnn Fabrics to look at a few things, Home Depot for paint samples and found a great deal on a mirror at Goodwill for another project.  I really enjoyed the time with my family, but also a few hours by myself meandering through stores thinking and creating in my head.

The perfect ending for our day was a date night after Munchkie went to bed.  We had wanted to spend one last date night out while we still had people around us that we knew.  Unfortunately our plans slightly fell through and so we spent the date night in our own living room with Munchkie sound asleep upstairs.  Some Thai take out, a few candles and a movie really made it feel like a date night.  We had a good time together talking and enjoying each other's company without thinking about all the things that needed to be done around the house.  We were able to truly focus on each other.  I look forward to date nights and believe that they are an essential part in a healthy relationship.  Even though we spend quite a few nights together in our living room, it's completely different when you have a mindset of sharing a date night together.  You are able to mentally push all other things aside and truly focus your energy and attention towards the person you love.  It makes a huge difference to feel special and loved as you do during these times.

And so, after a movie, dinner, creative thinking trip, tag sale, farmer's market and coffee shop I had an incredibly productive and perfect day. 


No Princesses Here

I have a little pet peeve.  No.  Not a little one.  A HUGE pet peeve.  I can not handle the little divas of today.  I can not handle when I go into a store and see little girls throwing temper tantrums in the aisles and their tired mothers' give in to them to avoid a scene.  Because with each "compromise" a girl realizes that she has control over her parents and that she can continue to throw a fit to get what she wants.  I spend a lot of time hoping and praying that I am not that mother in one of those aisles.  I can not handle the mentality that each girl is a princess who should get whatever she wants.  The phrase "treat her like a princess" does not mean to give into her every whim, as most people think. 

A few weeks ago when Munchkie and I walked into her classroom there was someone visiting who made a comment about Munchkie being such a little princess and recent events started to come together.  I had seen this parent in the classroom several times and a few day prior to this Munchkie came home, found a blanket and put it on her head.  She pranced around saying "I a pin-sess Mommy!  I a pin-sess!"  and I told her then "We don't have princess in this house, so take the blanket off your head or pretend something else."  See, pretending to be a princess today is very different than pretending to be a princess when I was growing up.  I used to pretend to have tea parties, I loved the Disney Princess movies and spent hours in my great grandmother's old heels wearing my mother's old dresses.  However, the lessons I learned from the Disney Princesses were not lessons of being entitled and privileged but of overcoming difficult times- which everyone has, including princesses. 

So today, when a nice Italian man said to Munchkie "oh aren't you a little princess" to which she energetically agreed, I refrained from stating the thoughts in my head.  I wanted to shoot off that she was not a princess, we didn't believe in princesses, she has manners and respect for others around her.  But I refrained and instead smiled, said "yeah she's a crazy" and kept walking.  In my head I began to think about how I was going to combat this princess mentality.  Because I will not have a diva with a princess mentality.  I will continue to enforce manners, treating others with respect, and selflessness and hope that I can help form a beautiful girl who exemplifies these qualities..


Serve With Extra Love

I got this email and first thought that you can't go wrong with Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, and then when I read the accompanying story I was in tears by the end. 

"All she wanted was for us to make pie and share it with someone we love."


It makes me want to make a pie tonight.  If only Munchkie's Daddy would appreciate the gesture (he's not a sweets kind of person and probably wouldn't eat it anyway). I will find someone to make pie for. You never know how long your loved ones are in your life.  Cherish each moment.  And "serve with extra love."

For Jennie & Mikey- Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

In Jennie's Kitchen:
For Mikey 

And if you aren't already crying-
One Last Dance  


There's An App For That

We recently switched cell phone companies and thanks to an amazing deal, were able to join the world of wireless at your fingertips.  I love being able to send off an email when I think of something I want to tell someone.  I love being able to respond quickly to an email.  I love being in a store, remembering something in the circular that I wanted, bringing it up on my phone, showing the employee who then finds the item for me.  But most of all, I love having apps on my phone.

Right now my favorite is a game for Munchkie.  It is so great, she wants to play with it all day long.  The app is called "Where's Mommy?" and it's description is "The Photo Game You Create."  What you do is take pictures of anything you want, ad it to the app and then record your voice saying "Where is <fill in the blank>."  Then for the game the screen has twelve pictures on it and your voice gives the commands.  The child then taps the corresponding picture and this continues until all twelve items have been found.  I spent most of the morning taking pictures of everything I could find around the house, from food to toys to shapes to animals.

I have a doctor's appointment on Friday, during nap time in which she has to come with me.  I am hoping that she likes the app so much that it will keep her occupied and happy for the length of the appointment.  I think I will soon become one of those moms who can't imagine life without her phone.  It keeps our lives together with the calender, updates all my contacts from my email account, keeps me linked to the wireless world AND entertains my child.  You can't beat that!