Bottoms Up!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Some of you may remember my fascination with vintage soda bottles. AND some of you may also remember that I have been on the lookout for an RC Cola bottle because, hey, who doesn't want one of those in their collection?

Well, as luck would have it, whilst filching around for said RC Cola bottle, I happened upon a vintage RC Cola crate with none other than Greensboro, North Carolina plastered all over the side of it. (For those of you who might be unawares, that is where both Deanna and I were born - and Daddy-o for that matter. And Ryan and I also lived there for many years after going to college at UNCG.)

So, this was definitely a score! It happens to be a crate that has larger sections that previously held one liter soda bottles, so I have converted it to a wine bottle holder and it sits in the alcove above my refrigerator.




And just like any other wine rack, you know exactly how many slots you have to fill and you can see at a glance how many bottles you have. Works great!

Pop Parenting: Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock Edition

Saturday, August 24, 2013

As parents all over the US rejoice in sending their kids back to school, they also simultaneously dread the thought of the new found germs that will be coming home with the kids almost immediately.

And in addition to those germs, there also comes the inevitable moment when (even after you've repeatedly told them otherwise) SOMEBODY sneezes or coughs and . . . forgets . . . to . . . cover . . . his . . . mouth. DUN DUN DUN.

And THAT, dear friends, is when you need to call upon Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock:


The instant the transgression occurs, ask them: "You know what Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock would say about that?"

As they stare at you with bewilderment, you will then answer:

STAY AWAY FROM ME IF YOU'RE CONTAGIOUS

If you're feeling particularly funky-fresh, I highly recommend that you continue through the chorus. Now, I'm sure the bewilderment will take a moment to wear off, so take this opportunity to explain that in THIS instance, "It Takes Two" refers to one person making another person sick by spreading germs, which is why you should always cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough.

If this is in any way met with "It's too hard," "I can't do it," "I will DIE!" or some derivation thereof, interrupt them with quite possibly one of the best lines from any song ever: 

YOU DON'T LIKE IT? SO WHAT, I DON'T CARE.

Meaning, of course, that this is not optional and that you, Rob Base, AND DJ E-Z Rock mean bidness. ;-)

Play Kitchen: Update

Friday, August 23, 2013

You may remember this little number from this blog post where I turned a furniture outcast into a play kitchen.  The piece of furniture I used was larger than some of the other projects I've seen, but Emma Lola has a stool, so she can still reach everything, and it provided extra storage space, so I was pretty satisfied with the outcome.


Well, here's a little added bonus that Emma discovered.  She sought that tiny pillow out and confiscated it for her purposes and dragged her blanky in with her, of course.

 



There's nothing I like better than finding duel purposes for things.  Yes, even our furniture multitasks!




One Man's Trash - Vintage Piggy Banks

Thursday, August 22, 2013

In today's installment of One Man's Trash, we make a visit to my laundry room.  What?, you ask, I thought we were talking about vintage piggy banks.  Oh, we are. Stay with me.  

We (read my handy husband and his dad) recently renovated my laundry room.  They installed a lovely folding shelf for me along with a few other modifications to our laundry set up to make things a little handier and more convenient.  I have been over the moon with results (well, as happy as one can get about laundry).  But back to the pigs...  

When you are married to a man the likes of my husband, you could almost retire early just on the sheer volume of coinage that comes through the laundry.  Now, I'm not complaining, not really.  I just usually collect it and throw it into an ugly jar that sits on top of the dryer.  But given the fancier state of my laundry facilities these days, I knew I wanted to upgrade to a large piggy bank.  I have been on the lookout for one, and hubby knew it. So when we wandered into one of our old standby antique/ junk shops and saw these beauts sitting there, we knew we were in luck. 


As I said, I wanted a large piggy bank, one that could stand up to the aforementioned load, so to speak. Each of these measures about 12 inches in length, and what's more, they were in great shape- no chips or cracks, and both still had their original stoppers.  John really liked the "wide awake" pig on the right, while I preferred the sleepy little one on the left.  So, at the end of the day I figured why not get both?  I'm sure they will both be full in no time flat.  They were a mere $6 each, and we didn't even try to haggle on this deal; didn't want to look a gift pig in the mouth.  :)

One a side note, who knew that piggy banks mostly all have bows around their necks?  I rather like that.  Guess I've not paid much attention to piggy banks over the years, but the more I research the more I find that it's hard to find one without a bow.  Hmmm, how fancy!  Love it!

Tan in a Can: Self Tanning and Bronzing Products that Really Work

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

All summer long, I have had people ask me about my "tan", so I thought it was high time I shared my secret with the masses instead of just one by one.  For those of you who know me, you will already know that any tan that I sport is certainly not courtesy of the sun.  My skin scoffs at the sun.  I freckle, I burn, I peel, but never under any circumstances do I tan.  Never have, never will.  Such is life.  We must all play the hand we are dealt.  

So rather than shock people with my scary white skin, I choose to self-tan.  And I have tried them all. Remember when self tanners first became popular?  They all had a scary orange tint to them, and they were usually pretty streaky too.  Oh, and the smell.  Ick, it was awful.  But, I was right there- front and center with the orange streaky skin- struggling to find some color for my otherwise colorless skin.  

Thankfully, instant tanners have improved by leaps and bounds since those days.  Today's self tanners are smooth, bronzy-colored, and odor-free.  And I have finally settled on one that I love.



Tanwise is an aerosol spray tanner.  I love it so much more than lotion tanners.  It literally goes on the color that it's going to be so you can see exactly where you are putting it.  There is no room for streaks with this stuff (unless you choose to spray yourself down in the dark).  And unlike lotions, you don't have to wait for the color to develop.  Like I said, it instantly tans, and it dries quickly too. Oh, and there is zero smell.  I have found that even the best lotion tanners still have a hint of self tan "smell" and I'm just not a fan.  I usually apply this every other day or so, and that's just about perfect for me.

So where do I buy this this little beauty secret?  I find it locally at Sally's Beauty Supply.  You can buy it online too, but that's my go-to source for my tan in a can.

Now, I do not personally use tanner on my face.  I know plenty of people who do, and I suppose there's nothing wrong with giving that a try too if you like.  But for me, I prefer to use a bronzer for a summery facial glow.  My go-to bronzer this summer has been Betty-Lou Manizer by the Balm.  And I can't say enough good things about it.  I apply this bronzer with a big fluffy powder brush over my regular powder.  The color is perfect- a little shimmery and a lot of pretty bronze glow.  It is oil-free so it doesn't ever make you look too "dewy".  And what's more, I am in love with the packaging for this product.

You will also see it pictured above with it's counterpart, Mary Lou Manizer by the Balm. This product is not a bronzer, but rather a luminizer and highlighter.  It gives your skin a soft and pretty glow without being too over the top.  Sadly, I broke this compact into a million pieces, that is before I discovered how to repair broken powders.  But I did save the case because it is just so darn cute.  For now, I am using it as a mirror for my purse, but I've got to get some more of this stuff!

I initially found the pair of these Balm products sold as a set at TJ Maxx for less than $10.  I had no idea what a good deal that was when I bought them, but I'm glad I did.  You can find them at lots of online retailers too.  :)  And they are usually sold individually.

So, that's about all folks.  As our summer winds to an end, keep your color going for a bit longer and consider giving these fine products a try.

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"Better Than the School's" Asian Chicken

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

For some reason, whenever I make this, Charlotte has usually had something similar to it at school for lunch. Now, I have been to every parent and grandparent lunch at Charlotte's school for the past 6 years, and there is no seasoning on anything that comes out of the cafeteria whatsoever! Asian chicken is Charlotte's favorite school lunch, so imagine my delight when one day she told me, "Yours is better than the school's!"



Ingredients:

1/3 Cup Warm Water
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Orange Juice
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Ketchup
1 Tbsp White Vinegar
4 Cloves Garlic
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1/4 tsp Chinese Five-Spice Powder

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 1/2 lbs Chicken, cubed

2 tsp Cornstarch
2 Tbsp Cold Water


  1. In a bowl, mix the first set of ingredients together to make the sauce.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook and stir chicken for 10-12 minutes. Pour sauce over chicken, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Toward the end of the 30 minutes, add the cornstarch and water to thicken the sauce.
  4. Serve over cooked rice.

Top 7 Movies You've Never Heard Of

You probably have heard, that one of the Duck Dynasty boys was ejected recently from a hotel.  He claims, "Facial Profiling."  Trust me, we know about "Facial Profiling".  Howard has two looks:

The HomelessMan, Bearded Look
The Distinguished Grizzly Adams Look

I submit to you that sometimes profiling can be quite useful.  In fact, I welcome it where Netflix is concerned. We do not have cable, but we have found some other sources of TV and movie entertainment, including Netflix and Hulu. I have especially enjoyed how Netflix allows you to rate movies as you watch them and then, makes recommendations based on your tastes. I have discovered my true taste in movies is not really all that mainstream, and I quite enjoy Netflix recommendations. That is, unless the baby has taken over and watched cartoons all morning.

In that same spirit, here are some of my recommendations for some thought-provoking, lesser known, but just plain good movies.

These first 3 are all foreign movies and subtitled.  I have found that some of my faves are, and since I usually turn on captions for everything I watch, this doesn't really bug me.
  • Fiorile is a true gem. The genre it would belong to would also be home to The Princess Bride. It tells a story - a refreshingly good one.  

  • Amelie - You might find Amelie to be a little slow going, but also thought provoking.  

  • Romantics Anonymous is a little bit quirky, but a cute story. 
 


The next 3 are in English, just lesser known.


                               



Lastly, I really liked Faith Like Potatoes which was a Christian movie.  



I might also note that they have a whole Christian category of movies that you can search through. So, if you are looking for something to watch on a dreary afternoon, shoot for one of these on Netflix, and make sure you rate it, so Netflix can figure you out! 

Though, being that our account is in Howard's name, they probably think Howard looks more like this:

(Because yes, I am a Disney Princess!)


Than this:






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Pop Parenting: Elvis Edition

Monday, August 19, 2013

I've come to learn that when you have young kids, you tend to repeat yourself (ad nauseam). So, rather than drive myself crazy (I hate repeating myself), I decided to take every opportunity to instill wisdom, common sense, and good judgment through what I like to call Pop Parenting.

Today's lesson will feature our good friend Elvis Presley. 


Most Pop Parenting installments should take your kids by surprise whilst they are doing something you don't want them to do. Never underestimate the element of surprise!

For example, when your request to pick up dirty laundry is met with "It's too hard," "I can't do it," "I will DIE!" or some derivation thereof, interrupt them with: "You know what Elvis would say about that?"

Clearly they will stare at you, stunned by the question (this is the element of surprise working). THAT's when you answer:

A LITTLE LESS CONVERSATION A LITTLE MORE ACTION, PLEASE!

Sing the whole darn song if you have to (or at least the pertinent parts) - THAT will certainly get your point across. And if they don't know what you mean - feel free to explain that you were not looking for an in depth conversation regarding the difficulties of said chore, but for them to act on the request.

We've known for years that tactics like humor and music are handy mnemonic devices for helping memory - Pop Parenting just takes it a step further (what with you providing said music and humor).

Sooner or later, you'll only need to ask the question - and they should be able to catch your drift to know you (and the King) mean business.

Thank you, Elvis, thankyouverymuch.

A Better Chalkboard and a Toy "Box"

Here are some of my latest "craft projects."  When I was making my big chalkboard for the schoolroom, I had this picture frame that is kind of an odd shape, so I decided that it, too, would make a good chalkboard to post little stuff--the date, reminders, menus, etc.  (As you can see, crafts aren't the only thing going on at my house: soup + jello= sicky!)


The first coat of chalkboard paint was the same as what I used for the biggin'.  I rolled it directly onto the glass, but I didn't have quite enough.  A few weeks passed, and I finally, made it to the store to get some spray paint to finish the job.  I spritzed on another couple of coats and let it dry for probably a day.  I conditioned it by rubbing the entire surface with the side of a piece of chalk and then, wiped it with a wet rag.  I gotta say, this one seems like it did better than the other.  As you can see, it remains a little chalky, but the color of this one stayed black whereas the other one faded pretty fast.  


Craft project numero dos didn't really require a lot of craftiness, just a Howard that would hang this for me. This is an old coke crate that I recently acquired from a flea market in Nashville.  They are pretty popular now, so you can probably find them pretty easily.  I scouted this one out specifically for this little project. Emma Lola loves her some tiny toys, and I thought this would be a unique way to show them off.  You could also paint the interior, if you are feeling particularly crafty, but I like the rustic look, too.

You could do this for any number of collectibles.  I could even house perfume bottles in it, if I had enough wall space in my bathroom.  Since I have so much room on this particular wall, I may just add a few more boxes and see if I have enough tiny toys to go around.  


We actually placed it at her height, too, so she can still get to them.  We just made sure that we secured it really well.


And, here is the operations center to our home school (and home too, for that matter).  I got these cool vintage maps that double as shades in our sunroom with Charlotte in mind, and I finally broke down and bought a printer.  I'm not the biggest fan of technology (and printers are the devil), but this puppy really has come in handy, and it has a copier on it too, so I guess you could call it a necessary evil.



Reading List: Oldies but Goodies

Sunday, August 18, 2013

When Charlotte inspected the school room, she was all too happy to find these gems:


These were books that I remembered reading when I was a kid.  I find that those are the best to recommend for your own children.  The Ghosts of Departure Point was one that Deanna had that I always longingly eyeballed, so I easily remembered this one.  Then my memory got a little foggy until I discovered this radical website that lists a ton of 80s chapter books.  Most of them were a part of a series.  I distinctly remember The Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley High books, but they even had Bad News Ballet which was the one on the tip of my brain that I couldn't quite remember. Needless to say, I was stoked!


And here are some that I happened upon at a flea market.  Remember those covers--so iconic!


Though I did fall in love with Magic Treehouse books and anything Mary Downing Hahn. They weren't around back in the 80s, but still Totally Awesome.

 








I also always loved Choose Your Own Adventure Books growing up.  This was the copy we retained in the Harris library.


You see, that cool androgynous character on the front is you!  As you read through the book, you (the reader) are faced with certain decisions that change the outcome of the story, so there are all kinds of endings in one book.

Lastly, I have to say one of my all time favorites, even now, is The Tales of Mr. Pengachoosa.  This one is not a chapter book, but a collection of  clever short stories, each one with a twist.


Needless to say my Amazon wishlist is filling up quickly!  

I signed us up a little while back for the Pizza Hut Book It Program.


Remember these? I think schools are geared more toward AR now, but if you are a Homeschool, you can still sign up for the Book It Program through September. I look forward to snuggling up with Charlotte and taking a few trips down memory lane this year and getting some pizza while we're at it!


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Homeschool: Organization and Printables

Welcome to our school room!


This week, I added the final touches to our school room. I went to Lowes in search of peg board and found some large sheets for $17!!! That was too much for me, as I only needed a small size to fit in my little space. Then, just as I was about to leave, I spotted this one. It is 4 ft and only 6 bucks. Perfecto!


In the section for organizing garages at the Lowes, they have these hooks that fit into peg board which I bought to hang my clipboards. (I actually found those first, and almost put them back before I spied the smaller pegboard that I wanted.) They are not very long, and they are sold in a pack of 4. I also got that cool little basket under my Welcome sign in the same place.

Because we have absolutely no studs in our walls at all, Howard first attached a 2x4 behind the pegboard on both ends and then attached the pegboard to it. This is a good solution anyway. Otherwise, the board would be too close to the wall to put hooks into it.

I  bought the clipboards at Walmart. Note, for this project you must use the old school clipboards with the metal clips, if you use the hooks from Lowes. I had to look on the school aisle at Walmart--not the back to school aisle--because the clipboards there only have a tiny pull out hole to hang it by.

I thought clipboards would be ideal for keeping up with all the daily stuff we need to keep track of.  Here are the majorly important stuff on mine (so far):
  1. Attendance--Here is the link for the one I have.  You have to have a record of attendance here in NC, and this is the recommended one. 
  2. Daily Planner--It would be a shame not to buy any school supplies at all. I bought mine at Walmart.
  3. Phys. Ed. Planner--This is a nifty little free printable I came across.  Exercise is not my strong suit, so I will take all the help I can get. I also found this website with some pretty cool PE ideas and free printables like coloring sheets and word finds.
  4. 31 Days of Praying Over Your Homeschool--I found this awesome printable over at Bible Based Homeschooling, and now, I can keep it at my fingertips.
I only started out with the four clipboards, but I have plenty of room to add more.  For example, I know I will be needing a reading log as we are already signed up for Bookit.  For now, on the other end of my board, I covered it with a solid color wrapping paper and a border from none other than the DG!



Not bad for the DG.  In fact, they have a whole little section for school room set ups. I also got this dry erase Daily Activity Poster:



I hung every Carson Dellosa poster I had (Thank you, Donna) at Emma Lola height:


And created a reading nook with a bean bag chair and a well-place poster:



Chore Invoice

Saturday, August 17, 2013


I just recently bought my (shall we say) methodical daughter this:

We have tried before to do a regular allowance, but even now, there is very little that Charlotte has to have.  Still, being methodical and all, she likes to count her money.  Here, she can record the chores that she has done throughout the week (that she gets paid for*), tally them up, and present me with a "bill".

*Some chores, like making her bed, she does for free.  And those chores have to be done before payday.


This has worked pretty well.  I thought it would be fun for her.  There wasn't anything about doing chores that we needed to fix per-say.  However, I did always have to remind her, "Now, do this; now, do that."  With her invoice system, she actually has taken some initiative.  When she has some spare time, she knocks out quite a few chores, and makes sure to write them down.  She even looks for things that she can do.


Amid the chore charts and crafts projects that have sprung up over the years concerning chores, this method works surprisingly well, for older kids anyway.