Monday, May 27, 2013

Potty Training....It's Not For Everyone....

          If you've ever had a child (or cared for one) you've noticed the difference between the diapering stage and the toilet-using stage. This gap does not happen by chance. It takes time, determination, will power and the ability to stay sane when you're scrubbing poo out the carpet and the textured wood doors.
         Potty training is not for the weak. It's not for the whiny. It's only for those strong enough to handle what toilet training dishes out. I've dug so much poo out of carpets and underwear, that I could build my own mud hut. (You're welcome for that imagery.)
         Cleaning someone else's human waste off the floor is not just a job for those in the hospital and elderly care professions. It's also for the Professional Potty Trainers.
         These elite folk trade in their sanity for the sake of human development. They give up luxuries like complete showers for disgusting things like cleaning poo off the carpet, tiny human and clothes. Wiping up pee becomes second nature. Knowing the location of the closest disinfectant at all times is a finely honed skill. Paper towels and wipes are stashed in their pockets. Waste removal bags are shoved up their sleeves and Febreeze hangs on a chain around their necks. Chasing a half-naked toddler and deftly tackling them is an innate ability.
         Part ninja, part machine, these heroes ensure the futures of children everywhere. PPT's are fueled by coffee, Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, loads of sugary carbs and the occasional Monster. Sleep is at an all-time low as PPT's awake early to rush toddlers to the toilet and in the middle of the night to change wet sheets. Scrubbing poo out of the carpet is a daily ritual.
         A glamorous job? No. Necessary? Well....only if you wish to stop changing your child's diapers.
The reward for PPT's is huge- no more diaper changes for the rest of that child's life and satisfaction knowing that you won't be ushering them down their wedding aisle in a diaper. The recognition? Non-existent. (How many times has your adult child thanked you for potty-training them?? See?? It's all taken for granted).
        Before you decide if the role of a PPT is right for you, glance at the photo below. This is typical after-nap clean up for PPT's.

            Completely unglamourous, right?? Go. Thank your PPT. (And then ask them if they'd like the honor of training your child!)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Last Minute DIY Storage Box

      Last week we were informed that some unexpected visitors were coming in three days. THREE DAYS!!! Look, I'm not a clean freak and I don't have all of my household stuff organized too well. I'm on the hoarder side of the line. I also require small amounts of clutter to keep me sane.
     That being said, I do try to put stuff away & organize "out of control" messes when it is brought to my attention. However, three days notice is not enough time for me to completely revamp the place.
     See, I get nervous when folks I don't really know come to visit. Why? I think that because I do not know these people well, I want to make a good impression and have everything spic & span so my secret hoarding habits don't scare them away.

    One of my problems has been our downstairs bathroom sink. Why?? Because that's where I tend to do my hair which means there are random bottles of smoothing cream, hairspray, brushes and hair paraphernalia all over the place. After mulling over it for a bit, I decided I needed a basket to contain the catastrophe. I went into my craft/decor closet and didn't find a basket that would work. Oh, no! What to do?!? I don't have time to go to the store (not to mention I may not be able to find one in our town-my other baskets are from the Dollar Tree-an hour away!) and a plain cardboard box just wouldn't do!!! Or would it??
     This is when inspiration struck. Thanks to my hoarding skills, I have some random fabric I snagged on clearance when our Wal*Mart decided to stop carrying a fabric section (the horror, I know!!!). I grabbed this, and a sturdy cardboard box from my craft closet. I also grabbed double-sided tape and all of my sewing stuff.
      I took my pile downstairs, sat on the couch and though about how I was going to sew the fabric so that it fit around the box and created a liner inside. After a few minutes of attempting to be an engineer, I decided that was too far out of my league. Now what?? Okay, I still have the fabric and box. I decided that a liner inside was only necessary if folks were to see the box interior. That's rather unlikely since it is meant to just contain my hair stuff.
       Double-sided tape. Surely that was the answer....but it proved to be a bit difficult since I couldn't figure out how to attach the fabric to the interior of the box (no, I do not own a hot-glue gun...if I did, I'm sure I would have burn marks all over, not to mention a large percentage of my limbs would be hot-glued together). Then I looked over at my fake arm and remembered the staples in it, so if staples can hold together a piece of plastic and fabric, why not fabric and cardboard?? So I broke out the stapler and stapled the thing together. Pretty nice, huh??

     So here's what you'll need to mimic this creative masterpiece:
     A sturdy cardboard box (check the size-I didn't have time to and it's a bit bigger than our sink, so it hangs off a bit. I also used a box inside it's corresponding lid for added support)

     A stapler
     Double-sided tape
     Ribbon (for accent)
    Follow these 5 easy steps:

   1. Measure and cut the fabric for the box. Due to box shapes, you will have some overlap (It's almost like tucking in a flat sheet on your bed) so fold it to make it look pretty. I opted for "the triangle" on the wider edges.

   2. Fold fabric around box and pull taught. You may use double-sided tape to hold the seams together.

    3. Proceed to staple the fabric to the interior of the box. If the staple goes straight through to the outside fabric, you'll need a thicker box.

     4. Add appropriate ribbons & accents. (I didn't have any that matched my box, but I put one on for picture's sake ;)

     5. Enjoy!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Breaking and Entering...

    Let me start this post by saying two things: 1. I'm not trying to brag on what we do (or try to do) 2. I'm not condoning breaking into churches.
     That being said, a local church donated their space for us to host our annual community Mother's Day dinner last week. Prior to setting the tables and chairs up, we were informed that one of the tables was upstairs in an office. No problem, right?? ...Until we attempted to retrieve said table.
     The door to the office was locked, so instead of bothering the pastor who would arrive in a few hours, we attempted to use a card to jimmy the lock (ssssshhhhhh!!!!). That didn't work, so I exited the open room next to it and attempted to open the window (ssssshhhhhh!!!!). That too was a no-go. Back to jimmy-ing the lock. Now, my friend has some inherited lock-picking skills, but she insisted that these locks weren't easy to just pick, so we didn't try.
     After hubby & her gave up (I have this persistence problem) I had an epiphany ("apostrophe" in Smee's words). The door marked "church office" was open (big "Duh" right there). Now, I've spent enough years in and around churches to know that there is typically a spare set or two of church keys in a church office. It's like a church law or something. While I was rifling through the drawers, I kept thinking that the magical drawer that held the spare keys would be locked. It wasn't. However, neither of the marked keys had the name of the office we wanted to I took both and tried them both. One seemed to fit better than the other, and after a few minutes of jiggling & twisting, the lock opened (viola!). The table was retrieved and all was okay with the world. We set up and continued with dinner preparations.
       Now, since I have a guilty conscience that spills all when opened, I did end up regaling the entire story to the associate pastor of the church during our clean-up. The associate pastor did not seem too baffled by our adventure. I was then assured that those locks were, in fact, super easy to pick with just a paper clip! (The interior locks are pretty old, but the church will be remodeling soon, so all of the pickable locks will be changing!) Satisfied that the truth was told and we weren't in trouble for attempting to "break and enter", we had a good laugh and put things back in place.
       The day had been saved and all was well with our world.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review: CoverGirl Lash Blash Volume Mascara

    SheSpeaks sent me a fun boxed filled with P&G Brandsaver's Most Loved Brands. In there was nestled a Cover Girl Last Blast Mascara! I don't like to spend a lot of $$ on make-up products because 1. I can't afford to  2. It's not permanent. However, I have been wanting to try the Lash Blash mascaras because my lashes are blonde and I feel funny "not having eyelashes" sometimes.
    In my day-to-day life I don't wear makeup ( I used to, but then kids go in the way & we live in more of a "natural" community {you've got *no idea* what I've seen}). I do put it on if I'm going out of town, occasionally for church and for other activities where I feel the need to look a bit fancy.
     I must say that I don't know much about mascara formulas, but I have noticed that the bristles on the wand usually make a difference in how full your lashes look. I know that lashes come in different shapes/sizes & thicknesses, so I can only recommend lash products for ones like mine. Since my hair's blonde and my eyes are blue (most of the time) a brown formula looks more natural on me than black, but finding that shade is sometimes difficult in our small town. I'm sure this formula comes in brown, but I was given black to test.
     I really love how thick & full my lashes look with this product. I did a "one eye" test so you too can see the difference it makes!

       I know, right??  If you're looking for a change of pace for your face, I highly recommend Cover Girl's Lash Blast Volume Mascara!

*Disclaimer: I was given these products to try for free and was not forced to write anything. I like to review products that I think my readers will enjoy. All opinions are my own.

Monday, May 13, 2013

This Is Why Michelle Doesn't Pump Gas

       I try to lead a quite, simple life. I really do....but things always end up happening to me!!!
       I have discovered that I am not good with long-distance driving. Five hours seems to be my limit. I don't know why that is, but on the opposite end of things, Hubby can drive twenty-four hours straight with no problem. Today's story starts with a long distance drive...
       See, last Tuesday afternoon I had to drive a little over 2 hours to pick up my friend in Colorado Springs, then we had to drive over another hour to Denver to pick up her girls from the airport. Before we left, we had to get gas. Now, we had to time it right because if we went too far down the interstate, we would miss that last exit and it would be another half hour or so until we reached the next town that would have a gas station.  It was late. My friend was on the phone when I took a random exit (I panic and end up doing things too early) looking for a gas station. We found a 7-11, but gas was more expensive there than in our hometown! Since there were no other retail establishments in sight, I entered a small parking lot to turn us around and head back to the highway. My friend had made the comment that this was "a bad part of town to get gas in" because there was only one gas station, so there were no price wars. After my van was positioned to turn back onto the highway, I noticed that the street directly across from us was flooded with law enforcement vehicles. Bad part of town, indeed! There were about 6 police cars and an SUV blocking off the road a handful of officers interrogating a woman. We wanted to get out of there quick!
      Following the magical gps on my phone, we ended up staying on that road until we found another gas station. Gas at this one wasn't only less expensive, but it was one that takes the grocery store club card you've earned points on for $$ off the price per gallon.  Talk about a deal! (We have a grocery store, but not a gas station that takes a club card)
     For those of you who haven't known me for long, I don't pump my own gas. I used to, but then I had quite the aversion to the pump, relying on hubby for all of my fuel needs.  However, I have recently decided to overcome this aversion (you know-trying to be a big girls & all) and do it myself (bad idea). It's had it's moments (like the really old, shaky pumps that scared me, or the creepers in the convenience store), but for the most part, I've been successful.
     So, as it as, I had accumulated a bunch of rewards on my club card so we used my card store card. More accurately, I inserted it into the magical slot that sucks cards in and spits them back out. card didn't come back out. Why?? I don't know...Okay, so I know...It didn't slide back out because I had shoved it up the slot where the receipt comes out. (Hey, all I saw was "insert club card" and then an empty slot. It was late. Driving long distances wears me out.) Thankfully, I carry a set of tweezers in my purse. I retrieved them and my friend helped snatch my card back. Then, we couldn't get the machine to accept her debit card. Why? Because she forgot that her zip code and PIN number were two different numbers. We needed sleep. Bad. Unfortunately, we still had about 3 hours of driving left to get back home. (Side note: we didn't get a receipt...*pretty sure* I jammed the machine.)
          Well, we safely made it back home with little incident, save me "freaking out" when my vision started getting as tired as I was ("Did you see that sign?? It just jumped up out of NOWHERE!!!")
      Needless to say, I'm pretty sure I'm done pumping my own gas....for a while at least...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Review: Garnier BB Cream


      I was given another opportunity from BzzAgent to review this new Garnier facial product! I jumped at the chance! This one is called Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector B.B. Cream. Mine's for combination to oily skin and in the light/medium shade (there's 3 to choose from).
          Beauty Balms weren't FDA approved in the U.S. until recently, so that is why many are seeing an influx of these, questioning where they came from. Prior to this they were only available in, like, Europe & stuff. Blah, blah, blah.
      I just wanna say that I was not prepared for what was in the tube. The B.B. cream is actually tinted and reminds me of liquid foundation, but the consistency is thinner, making it go on smoother & allowing more product for usage (which is fantastic because my 2yo has already painted himself and my bathroom sink with it twice and I still have plenty left!).
     I love how this cream gives my skin a matte finish so my face does not appear oily (I have combo skin) even after a run (Yes, I am that girl who tests her makeup products for stability and performance during sweat sessions). Sure, it comes off if I dab it while sweating, but for the most part it stays.

This is what my skin looked like before using the product:

This is with the product on:

And this is after using the product almost daily for a few weeks:

       Believe it or not, it's actually cleared up my skin (and evened out my tone a bit)!  I love how quick this cream goes on! It's lighter and easier to apply than my liquid foundation, and gives me a smoother tone than my mineral powder. I have been seeing coupons for this in the paper, so it should be available at your local retailer. I keep forgetting to check our Walmart while we're there because I'm sure I have enough left in this tube to last me through summer! If you wear these types of face products, I definitely recommend trying out this beauty balm.

Disclaimer: I received this product free from BzzAgent. All opinions are my own and I will not knowingly lie about a product to my readers. These photos are also my own. And I keep forgetting to watermark them.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Things Parents Have To Learn For Themselves- How to Handle Loose Teeth.

        Josiah (our oldest) has his (aka "the") first loose tooth. That's right: we're entering the "all-I-want-for-Christmas-is-my-two-front-teeth" stage. This tooth is one of his lower bottom ones. At his dental visit last week we learned he had three other loosies, but this one is way looser. Break out the string.
         A child's first loose tooth is something not covered in those "what to do now that you are responsible for this tiny human" videos you watch at the hospital. It's not covered in Nurturing Parenting Classes, or even behavioral ones. Preschool and Kindergarten teachers are not even equipped to give parental advice regarding this subject. Unlike pottying, there aren't volumes of books written on this subject. This is one of those "uncharted territories" that every parent must (or should-something's wrong if your child's baby teeth don't come out) navigate on their own. And this was how we ended up handling it....
        See, I have this "problem". This "gift" if you will. I call it an over-active imagination. I'm not sure if it's really my imagination or if there is some other term for it, but I have the ability to imagine a situation and feel it-the emotions & whatnot. Go ahead, call me crazy (that's my nickname, afterall) but when my 6yo is wiggling his loose right in front of me, I too feel it wiggle. I feel the gums moving back and forth as he touches it. I feel it stuck pointing forward, hitting his lower lip. I feel it.
        And I want it out. It gives me the heebie-jeebies watching him wiggle it back and forth, unwittingly imagining how it feels to be wiggled-the gums moving with each touch, the roots jiggling up and down....
        So I was in the bathroom, freaking out about Josiah's now super-loose tooth. I begged hubby to pull it out and he agreed. After attempting the not-so-easy feat of using tweezers, he grabbed his pliers. They did not do the job either. During this event, the rest of the children have accumulated in the room, begging us to spare Josiah's life. (Dramatic, I know, but these are my children). It was starting to become as dramatic as that epic scene in Castaway (You know-the one where Tom Hank's character takes an ice skate to his infected molar).
       Needless to say, nothing ended up coming out of his mouth except wails and pleads of not being tormented again.
       Fast forward two days and after bathtime, hubby tried using his fingers to pull the tooth out. Aside from screaming and crying from Josiah, nothing else happened...for 10 more minutes. Next thing I know, Josiah's running downstairs with a bloody mouth an a bloody tooth in his hand- he finished pulling it out by himself!
       And here he is looking all proud of the moment:

          Just one more thing we've survived ;)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

CollageIt Pro GiveAway

   Pearl Mountain Technology is letting me giveaway 20 (12 Windows, 8 MAC) of their CollageIt Pro software for Mother's Day! Feel free to keep the prize, or give it to your well-deserving mom!
    I already have their image converter and I love how easy it is to use! I discovered that their CollageIt Pro is just as easy! This software retails for $19.95. With CollageIt Pro there are a variety of collage templates to choose from. All you do is upload or drag your pics to the photo column (you do this by opening both the CollageIt Pro & your photos-shrink both windows a bit, click on the photo you want to use and drag it into the photo column on the CollageIt Pro) then you can drag them into the collage scene, or the app does it for you. Here's a quick one of my kiddos I made:

After you get the photos *just perfect* into the collage, you can save it by clicking the blue "start" button. I believe you can also add a watermark to these to make it more fun!

Here is the RaffleCopter Widget if you want a Windows copy

Here is the RaffleCopter Widget if you want a MAC copy

     Good luck!!!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Things I've Learned While Running....Poncha Pass

    One of my recent running goals has been to run up Poncha Pass to the entrance of the Rainbow Trail. When I can, I measure my distances to prepare myself for the work. The day I measured the distance from our apartment to the trailhead, I was shocked to find it was almost 7 miles! Uphill! (Not to mention the elevation of 9010ft) I mean, sure, that's 7 miles downhill, but when your longest distance is only up to 8 miles, that's quite a feat. Not to mention that this intended trek does not include and part of the Rainbow Trail.
      The distance from the base to the top of the pass is about 8 miles or so. Maybe one day I will be able to make it that far, but so far (due to ability  & time constraints) I've only been able to run about halfway up the pass.

                                                        Me!!! About 3 miles up!!!

                                 View downhill, towards Poncha

                                             View uphill-up the pass. Very windy.

       And here are some things I've learned
               1. Tractor trailers driving by you are not as scary as I imagined.
               2. Any large vehicle (bus, hemi with trailer, ect) going really fast up the pass sounds like a tractor trailer.
               3. People throw a whole lot of soda bottles (full, empty, and filled with "iced tea") out the windows.
              4. People throw a lot of random things out the window
              5. I think I could assemble a small vehicle from the parts on the side of the road.
              6. The "up" side of the road has more of a shoulder to run on
              7. I have too much time to think.
              8. I could be smashed by falling rocks.
              9. Half a mile is farther than you think.
             10. Haters will be haters.

So am I crazy? Yeah. Do I get a good workout? Oh, yeah. Will I reach the top one day? We shall see....