Being a mother means…

Being a Mother Means...

My observations on what being a mother means…

Being a Mother Means...

Being a mother means….

You forget what personal space is.

You eat cookies in the closet because you don’t want to share.

Sometimes the most unattainable dream is simply having 5 minutes of pure, blessed silence.

And if you ever get those 5 minutes of silence, you’ll rue them when you see what havoc the kids have wreaked in your absence .

You just might discover that you know every word to the most popular Disney songs….and you love belting them out!

The days of listening to grownup music are fading fast…because you either don’t want to explain the adult lyrics, or the demands for Disney songs (see above) are too overpowering.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Literally. Read your talkative four year old a book and you’ll find you can barely get past the first illustration…”What’s that? What’s he doing? Why is she wearing that? Where are they going? Is that a boy or a girl? Why are they carrying a backpack?”….

Dinner is quite possibly the most stressful time of your day – from making it, to eating it, and to cleaning up the mess afterwards.

You forget what your living room floor looks like.

You wear the same clothes until they get snot or poop on them to cut down on laundry.

Shopping becomes an Olympic Sport, involving intensive training (be quiet, don’t touch, stay with me, etc.), hard work, sweat, tears, and moving as rapidly as you can to get down the aisle and out of the darn store.

Before kids, you were young and carefree. Now you’re old and curmudgeonly, and your favorite word is, “No.”

Being a mother also means….

You don’t sleep in any more, even on weekends, but oh those early morning snuggles!

So many kisses and hugs. So. Many.

As frustrating as the plethora of toys in your house are….you can’t resist buying new ones you’re certain your kids will love and cherish forever (or at least a day or two).

Any time you need an excuse to stay home, you’ve got it, baby! Same goes for anytime you need an excuse to get OUT.

You’ll take personally the compliments directed at your little one…What an adorable little girl? Why thank you, I’m her personal stylist!

You’ll gain the utmost joy and pride in another person’s accomplishments…rolling over, taking steps, and peeing in the potty never seemed so miraculous and brilliant until now.

You’ll become a pro at terrorizing young children that are mean to your kids. Don’t worry about it; they have it coming to them.

Both rational and irrational fears will abound. No matter how rational you were before you had kids.

You may begin to wonder if you have an undiagnosed anxiety disorder. Or need anger management classes.

Your constant companions are surefire conversation starters. Great for making new friends!

For the next few years, you will live with the cutest little comedians you ever did see. Daily shows, free admission, just sweat and tears to get in!

You will hear the words, “I ‘lub’ you so much” and know that it is the truest, sweetest, purest form of love ever bestowed upon any human.

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4 Back To School Duck Tape Crafts!

4 Duck Tape back to school crafts!

Back to School Duck Tape Crafts are so much fun!!

4 Duck Tape back to school crafts!

My daughter should be heading to preschool soon, but instead, we decided to do our own back to school learning – sort of like preschool homeschool. We have a stack of preschool/kindergarten workbooks, and we continue to socialize as we always do! We also purchased a brand new stack of educational Usborne books. We got good, quality books about our world and space, how things grow, question and answer books and many, many more!!…Somehow, no matter the subject, every single one captures and holds her attention. Her favorites are the “Look Inside A Castle” (even though I told her there’s no princess in this castle!) and “Look Inside Your Body” books. They have a million sturdy little flaps to lift and she wanted to read every single one!

But whether your kid is in a traditional school setting or not, they need a crafty outlet! So I was really excited when The Duck Brand gave me the opportunity to bond with my daughter over a new type of project!

I’d never attempted a Duck Tape craft before, but I headed to Hobby Lobby with my Pinterest inspiration and my excited daughter in tow (actually, both my daughters were in tow, but the two year old didn’t really know what there was to be excited about, haha!).

After an excessive amount of deliberation, we chose our rolls of Duck Tape and a few extra supplies. The company offers more than 250 designs, including glow in the dark tape!! Not surprisingly, my glitzy girl picked a gorgeous glitter tape!

Rolls of Duck Tape And because I couldn’t pick just one back to school craft….we created four of them! First we practiced covering a notebook with Duck Tape. There are several ways to do this (I think), but I decided the easiest would be to cover a piece of paper with the Duck Tape, then pop that on the notebook. Cute, Mini Duck Tape Notebook

~ Back to School Duck Tape Notebook Craft ~

  1. Gather your supplies. You will need: One notebook, a roll or two of tape (any size will do, but I found the large size convenient to use as a base!), scissors, scrap paper, and a wooden or sticker initial if you want to create a monogrammed notebook.
  2. Cut white paper slightly smaller than your notebook. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Apply strips of duck tape until you’ve covered your paper
  3. Make sure the Duck Tape extends the tape past your paper – leave an extra inch or two. Decide now if you like the black edge showing on your notebook. Trim if necessary, but leave enough tape to secure.
  4. Cut out the corners as shown in collage above. Put the Duck Tape covered scrap paper on top of your notebook. Fold excess duck tape over the edge of the notebook and seal on the backside. Apply your monogram if using. Ours is a sticky wooden initial from the clearance aisle! It adhered like a dream!

Note: I highly recommend NOT trimming the Duck Tape unless you absolutely have to. I’ve seen many other crafters use an Exacto knife when trimming Duck Tape so I assume that works best. The glitter tape cut really easily, but the plain color did not! I did, however, persevere and manage not to mangle it (as shown in final collage picture!). In retrospect, I now recommend just trimming the diagonal glitter strips (on picture #3 in the collage) and leaving the original edge of the plain tape as is. My paper was slightly larger than it needed to be and I had no choice but to trim the tape ever so slightly. So smaller is better in this case!

For my first ever Duck Tape project, I was very pleased with the turnout!

Past the learning curve, we decided to attempt a…

~ Beaded Duck Tape Bookmark ~

Beaded Duck Tape Bookmark And silly me, I forgot to take pictures in the beginning. It starts the same as the notebook, however…

  1. Cut a piece of card stock or thin cardboard to whatever size you think a bookmark should be. Punch a hole at the top to add ribbon later. Cover entirely with strips of tape, extending approximately an inch past the edge of the paper. Cut out the corners of the tape so you can fold it over neatly.
  2.  If you want to live on the dangerous side, jab a hole thru the duck tape with the blade of your scissor. Does a hole punch go through Duck Tape? I don’t know; it might. My paper had a pre-punched hole. And I don’t own a hole punch of the correct size. If you’re not bleeding at this point, next, apply decorative strips of tape on the front.
  3. Fold strips of decorative tape over to the back of your bookmark. You might notice I added another strip of the wider, yellow tape to completely cover the plain paper on the back.
  4. Double your ribbon and thread it through the hole in the bookmark. Bring the two ribbon ends back through the loop you created when you doubled the ribbon and pull tight. Holding ribbon ends together, thread beads on. Knot.

And you’re done! Now, are you wondering how I got my hands on the perfect bookmark sized paper with a prepunched hole? Check out photo #1 on the notebook project collage…our monogrammed ‘A’ came on a nice piece of card stock just the perfect size!! Reduce, reuse, recycle! Save the earth! And for convenience sake, just use whatever the heck you can get your hands on. 😉 Having not lost our steam yet, we started on our next project…

~ Decorative Duck Tape Feather ~

Decorative Duck Tape Feather or Bookmark This was the easiest craft of them all!!

  1. Cut a piece of wire and lay the end at the edge of a long piece of Duck Tape (see picture #1 above). Let’s not be technical, here. Just eyeball the wire to be about the size you want your feather to end up. To cut tape the correct size without guess work, fold in half backwards with non-sticky sides touching. Align evenly with your pre-cut side and snip it off there.
  2. Fold tape LONG ways. Don’t fold the short sides in.  Fold it over to meet and cover the end of the wire.
  3. Freehand (or trace, if you must) a leaf shape. Sort of a long oval. Don’t forget the stem!
  4. Wrap a small piece of duck tape around the wire stem to make it more sturdy and substantial looking (optional!). At an angle, cut towards the wire but stop short of it.

And that’s it! I promise this craft is easy as pie! Even the fringing was simple! I am thinking this could make a cute bookmark as well, or a decorative addition to our next craft….

~ Back To School Duck Tape Pencil Bag ~

Duck Tape Back To School Pencil Bag

  1. Grab a quart or gallon size ziploc bag (I used a freezer bag for extra stability) and cut the bottom down to desired size. Or don’t – I later learned it is much easier to trim plastic following the steady, even line of Duck Tape!
  2. Starting at the zippered top, line up and adhere your first strip of tape. Keep going until you get to the end, and make sure the tape overlaps the bottom to seal up the opening you cut.
  3. Fold all the pieces over to the yet un-taped side! Then cover that side too. This time, don’t overlap the tape, just get it as close to the edge as you can. And try to cut the strips neatly – don’t rip it and create jagged edges, because these will be seen!
  4. Add your decorative Duck Tape. Wrap it ALLLLL the way around from one side to the other. I tried stopping at the ends and overlapping like I did with the yellow tape, but it just didn’t stay down as well or look as good. This way, you only have ONE end showing and it is very unnoticeable!

And you, my friend, now have a cute new bag!! I was skeptical about this one, but the bag seems like it will hold up very nicely and is extremely functional! It ended up being our favorite of all four projects! My daughter loves carrying it around with all her new crafts tucked inside. 🙂

For more  creative ideas, follow the Duck Tape board on Pinterest! You can find it here.

duck tape giveaway-2

Now, as an EXTRA incentive for you for you to break into the wonderful world of Duck Tape crafts, I am hosting a giveaway for you, my lovely readers! Enter below (USA only, please) and be sure to leave a valid e-mail as I will be e-mailing the winners!

Duck Tape Craft Supplies Giveaway!

Now, if you DON’T win, you can find all kinds of Duck Tape patterns at Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, or Joann Fabrics, as well as other retailers!

 

Thank you to The Duck Brand for sponsoring today’s post and inspiring me to bond with my daughter over these fun Duck Tape crafts!

Fun, Easy Water Play Ideas for Toddlers!

Fun, Easy Water Play Ideas for Toddlers!

Water play activities are a MUST in the Summer! Squeeze every ounce of fun you can out of the warm weather!

Fun, Easy Water Play Ideas for Toddlers!

 

This water play post is actually a companion to one I just wrote for Bree at Family As We Go. You can check it out on her blog, here, and find more easy water play activities! In that post, similarly entitled, “Easy & Fun Water Activities For Toddlers!” you will find:

Giant Ice Cube, Hidden Toys

Washing the (Little Tikes) Car

Washing the (real) Car

Sink or Float.

But don’t forget to read and pin this post before you head over! I’ll provide the link to Bree’s blog again before you go. 🙂

The first water play idea I’m going to share with you today is:

“Painting” with Water

Water play activities - "painting" with water
This was actually my work of art right there. Even adults can join in on the fun!

This could not have been easier to set up. Grab a bucket of water and various size paintbrushes. Clean up is a breeze, too! Just dump whatever water is left over and put the bucket and paintbrushes away.

Water play activities for toddlers - painting with water!

My kids mostly just wanted to cover as much dry concrete with water as possible. And make very, very long lines all the way down to the street to run along like a giant rat race, lol!

For the next water play activity, you’ll need to plan ahead a tad. Check the dollar store or yard sales for a cheap pool float. Have you seen the diy water blobs going around Pinterest? This is the same idea, but less likely to become your next “Pinstrosity”!

“Water Blob”

First, buy a pack of water balloons. Open it and use the thingamabob that screws onto your hose or faucet to fill your pool float full of water instead of air! Mind blown, right?? Keep in mind, the bigger the float, the heavier it gets! Fill it where you plan to leave it for awhile, lol.

Water Activities for kids - filling up a water blob!

Keep in mind, the bigger the float, the heavier it gets! Fill it where you plan to leave it for awhile, lol.

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Everyone enjoyed this, from the 4 year old to the 15 month old neighbor boy! It was so cute seeing him try to stand up on the wobbling float. He did surprisingly good for his age!

Make a water blob - easy, fun water play activity!

The water blob was like a water bed that you’re actually allowed to jump on! When we were done with it, hubby dragged the water blob to our walkway where I popped open the valves. After letting it sit overnight, most of the water had dripped out by itself. We draped it over something to continue to drain and dry, so I think we can still use it again!

Now that you bought a package of water balloon just for that little hose fixture, what in the world are you going to do with all those water balloons?? Hmmm….

Fill a wading pool with water balloons!

Water activities for toddlers - fill kiddie pool with water balloons!
Yes, my four year old is gnawing on a water balloon. We were constantly on the kids’ case for doing that, so please don’t judge me!

The 15 month old neighbor boy especially enjoyed this. He sat in the kiddy pool playing with water balloons almost the whole time he was over!! Hubby and I sat “poolside” filling the water balloons. In between balloons, the excess water flowed into the pool, filling that up, too. The great thing about this is, that it’s really hard to break water balloons in a pool full of water. Makes them last a lot longer!

When we were done filling the balloons (finally!) we did a…

Pop the Water Balloon Race

Water Activities for kids - water balloon race

On your mark, get set, go! The kids raced to smash the water balloons!

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The kids either stomped or sat on the balloons! Lots of fun to watch! Unfortunately, the freshly cut grass popped quite a few of the water balloons…I found the concrete driveway to be a superior option.

Before you head over to Family As We Go to see the rest of my fun water play activities, please plan to keep in touch!

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Thanks for stopping by!

Cheddar Basil Parmesan Toasts

Cheddar Basil Parmesan Toasts Social
I came up with these Cheddar Basil Parmesan Toasts one day when I just had to have some toasty warm, cheesy bread! They turned out delicious!

Cheddar Basil Parmesan Toasts Social

It all started at Kroger…and I was hungry. Carbs never seem more appetizing than when your stomach is running on empty, amiright?

Salivating, I perused the bakery shelves with their crispy asiago bread and four cheese Italian loaf. But those darn loaves of bread were $4! All I could think was, this is cheap old white flour and water! And I could make it myself, had I the time and inclination (which I certainly did not).

I moved on to the clearance bread rack and found a yummy looking (yet somewhat boring) multigrain loaf for only $1.49. Bingo!

Multigrain Loaf for Cheddar Basil Parmesan Toasts

When I got the bread home, I sliced it into 1/4 inch pieces.

I laid the bread slices in a small pan (leave a little space between each slice for crispier results).

I put a few pieces of white cheddar cracker barrel cheese on top of each slice of bread. (This cheese is seriously awesome – another blogger recommended using it in her Creamy Dreamy Mac N Cheese recipe and she was totally right about it!)

Then I grabbed some fresh basil leaves from my little herb garden on my back porch (herbs are pretty much the only thing I can get to grow. 🙁 ).

Basil Parmesan Toasts

I ripped my basil up really small and covered every square inch of that bread and cheese with it.

Next, I topped it all off with some shaved parmesan I bought in a giant container from Costco. ‘Cause I’m super fancy like that. You want something to hold the basil on and something to protect it from the broiler.

Cheddar Basil Parmesan Toasts with shaved parmesan from Costco

Which brings me to baking instructions…

Cheddar Basil Parmesan Toasts
Leave a little more space than this between slices- this was my second batch and it was not as crispy as the first. I think I overcrowded the pan.

Set your oven to high broil, and leave your rack in the middle. I ALWAYS burn things when I try to broil them, but this method did not fail me.

Four minutes on high broil did the trick perfectly! The cheese was bubbling all over, some had run over the sides and crisped up ever so slightly, and it was all just pure perfection.

The minute I took the pan out of the oven, my four year old bloodhound daughter perked up her nose. Sniffing, she said, “Something smells delicious! What’s that Mommy; can I have some?”

Begrudgingly, I shared.

It wasn’t long before the 2 year old came in and Big Sis had to flaunt her basil parmesan toast, “Look what I have!!”. Grr…

Needless to say, I had to make a second batch! But that was ok – hubby got to enjoy some too!

To recap the instructions:

Layer:

Slice of bread

Slices of Cracker Barrel White Cheddar cheese (one or two per slice of bread, just make sure bread is covered end to end)

Ripped Basil (Be generous! I used a leaf or two on every slice)

Shaved parmesan (just enough to cover basil)

Broil 4 minutes on middle rack.

Enjoy!

This makes a great, cheap side or appetizer that just might impress your guests!

I was going to sprinkle some garlic powder on these babies, too. Because garlic makes everything taste better! But I forgot, and was surprised to realize I didn’t miss it at all.

Try it and let me know what you think! Try different cheeses, try garlic and chive, whatever sounds good to you! Whatever yummy creation you come up with, report back to me!

And don’t forget to pin it for later!

Delicious, quick and easy cheddar basil parmesan toasts!