Crickets

I have a bug phobia.  So much so that I’m pretty sure they will be the cause of my death.  I imagine that I will be old enough to have a heart attack and one is going to land on me and I will either have a heart attack or give whoever is closest to me a heart attack from screaming like I’ve just been knifed.  The thing is that I do like facing my fears because I feel like that is the best way to overcome them.  This is why I go camping occasionally.  However, I’ve told my husband that there will come a day when I will be too old to camp (aka. heart attack range).

If I were playing my own psychologist I would say the root of this fear may be that our house was infested with crickets when we were little.  I’m not talking 1 to 10 – I’m talking 100’s.  Like, one time my cousins came to stay over and we were explaining to her that we have a slight cricket problem and lo and behold one was sitting on her shoulder and rubbing it’s chin, like “Interesting..”  I’d turn out the lights at night and could make out cricket shapes on my sheets.

I grew up in a house in the country in Texas.  A house that my parents had built.  It was really nice.  They made it Spanish style with arch ways in the front and stucco all around.  It had a great big porch in the back with a swing and a long driveway that we could skate down.  But after that experience, I never wanted to live in the country again because –  crickets.

And the thing about crickets is that they aren’t introverted/reclusive like spiders.  They are extroverted/intrusive.  This is why I think I have a fear.  These things were always like popping out to say hello and jumping at you, etc.  It was frightening.  Kind of like extroverted people (just kidding –  kind of!) :-p

One time,  I was at a restaurant in Dallas visiting with an old friend from work. It was a place called Cheddar’s.  I was talking to my friend.  A friend that I didn’t know all that well by the way and I felt an itch on my thigh so I started to scratch it. But then the itch moved higher and I looked down and noticed a bulge in my pants.  I realized then that it was some kind of insect so I launched myself out of my chair and proceeded to stomp around and scream trying to get the thing out of my pants.  It kept moving higher.

So, I tried to refrain from ripping my pants off then and there in the middle of the restaurant and instead I ran to the restroom.  The entire restaurant is looking at me at this point.  My friend runs after me.  I get in the stall and proceed to rip off my pants and throw them outside the stall.  I ask my friend if she sees a bug out there and she says no.  I look down and the cricket is smack dab in the middle of my chest.  I screamed bloody murder and flicked the thing out of the stall and finally I was rid of it.  Seriously.  Tell me that isn’t frightening?!  Ok, to some maybe it’s not, but for whatever reason it is to me.  Fear is just not rational.

Needless to say, I never heard from that friend again.  :-p

The cricket problem was so bad in our house that when our parents told me that they were going to sell our childhood home and move to the suburbs, I was actually happy.  I was like suburbs where they have pest control?  Yes!!! ( As I flicked a cricket off my eyebrow.)  I just remember spending time on the weekends with my flip flop in hand and killing crickets in the foyer.  It was a past time.  Maybe that’s why I have bad bug karma today.  We also had scorpions but they didn’t mess with me as much.  My mom however got 3 in her dress one time and that was painful.

So, the moral of the story is don’t live in the country.  No just kidding.  If you live in the country, invest in pest control.  :-p  You might help prevent your child from developing a phobia. Sorry in advance to any bug sympathizers out there.

 

What to do if you smell gas

And not the type of gas coming from your husband after he eats Taco Bell. I’m talking about the smell of natural gas. If you smell natural gas, call Laclede Gas immediately for residents in my area (or the equivalent gas company in your area). It is extremely dangerous to have natural gas floating around. And the best thing about it is that it’s free for the gas company to come out and inspect!!!

In most cases, it’s going to be something minor – that’s what the guy that worked for the gas company told us. In our case, we had a water heater leak some natural gas only when it was turning on to warm up the water. It was a small leak at the valve so you could barely smell it. I have the nose of a hound dog, though. The guy working for the gas company has a sniffer and they will be able to detect it right away and pin point the exact cause. It only cost us a hundred or so dollars to fix. No big deal. The gas company doesn’t do the fix – you have to call your HVAC company to fix it.  The gas company will turn off the gas though and put a lock on it so you have to get this fixed pronto.

Now, after we had this small gas leak I have become the canary for natural gas detection. I have a funny story about that. My husband was installing a microwave over the range and he asked for my help (that was his first mistake). We were installing an over the range microwave in our IKEA kitchen so we had to install the special microwave adjuster kit first so that the microwave would be even with the 15 inch deep cabinets.

So, I was holding the adjuster kit and trying to make it level while he drilled some three inch screws into the drywall and studs. Well, when the screw got about halfway in I smelled the natural gas smell and immediately freaked out. I told him, “You drilled through a gas pipeline!”. “You smell that?”. His nostrils flared and his eyes got huge, “Oh my gosh!” he says.

He unscrews the screw and runs to his toolbox while I frantically search for the Laclede Gas phone number on my phone while at the same time wondering if I’m supposed to be using my phone if there’s natural gas in the air. I was physically doing the verbal equivalent of “Everybody get down! She’s gonna blow!”. Yes, I have a flare for the dramatic. I opened the window and door.

Bryon runs to his toolbox to get his big wrench to turn off the gas to the house while yelling, “Get out of my way!”. Then, he realizes that it can’t be a gas pipeline because that’s not where they are. So, he runs back and tuns off the gas valve behind the oven – not being sure where the smell is coming from and runs back to his toolbox yelling, “Get out of my way!” because I’m pacing back and forth trying to get the number for Laclede on my phone while at the same time wondering if I’m creating static by my thighs rubbing together and am about to blow up. He grabs a tool from his tool box to try to smash through the dry wall to see what’s behind the wall – all the while knowing that there is no gas line back there so it’s not making sense.

Meanwhile, I finally get a hold of Laclede on the phone while my husband is taking a hatchet to the wall reminding me of the guy on The Shining. And I’m trying to explain to them that my husband was installing a microwave and there was this smell but now it’s gone and I’m about to tell them my address when Bryon yells, “Get off the phone! I have it figured out!”. The lady is like, “Ma’am.  Ma’am, I need your address.” in a very calm trying to talk me off the ledge manner.  And I hang up on her.  He had opened the wall up and there was only a stud back there and nothing else – no gas pipeline. Which he knew that already but since I had freaked him out, he panicked and was no longer thinking straight.  We no longer smell the smell.

Then, we notice on the oven that the burner was turned to 1. So, somehow I had managed to turn the burner knob with my crotch when I was “helping” which is what caused that smell so when we turned off the gas to the oven that’s why it went away. I think my husband is going to think twice about asking me to help him from now on. :-p And that folks is how you make a simple microwave installation very exciting!

Hot Hubby Woes

So, here recently, my husband has had to take on many new roles since life has gotten really busy for us.  One of them being the taker of the kids to the many, many appointments.  One such appointment happened to be the dermatologist for one of our girls.

She had this blackhead looking thing on her nose for almost a year.  I had tried everything.  I bought a $16 blackhead remover – the best you can find at Walgreens.  $16!!!  Didn’t work.  I just made her look like Rudolph.  I bought a charcoal face mask.  Didn’t work.  I bought some other Vitamin E face mask which I tried out as well and played it off like it was a girl’s spa night.  It was literally like putting a dirty, stinky washrag on your face and letting it sit there while you look like Michael Myers.  I think we would’ve gotten the same results if we would’ve just done that too.  Didn’t work.  I smeared Elmer’s glue all over her nose and let it dry, then peeled it off.  Didn’t work.  The things we do for our kids, right?

So, my husband made an appointment with a dermatologist because I was kind of worried it might be something else since it had been there so long.  They told him they had an opening in 3 months and then when he said that was too long they told him he could come in that afternoon.  ?!?!  The lady dermatologist takes a look at her nose and says it could be one of two things.  It could be a stubborn blackhead or it could be something called, “Dilated Pore of Wiener”.  My response: Really Bryon?  Really – she said that?  Was she rubbing your knee when she said that?  It’s hard being a hot hubby isn’t it?  Lol.  So strange.  You can’t make this stuff up.  Apparently, Wiener is the name of the guy who discovered this type of skin thing.  That’s unfortunate.

I think this is one of those times where doctor’s don’t need to use technical jargon – best not to, in fact.  You know where they just talk at you in doctor’s terms and you’re looking at them with glazed over eyes like ok just tell me in real people terms.  What’s wrong with me?

It’s a running joke with my daughter now.  My other daughter has some rash under her eye that looks like diaper rash.  So, we diagnosed her with “Diaper Rash of the Eye Hole”.  Wonder what my third daughter will come down with – scared to find out.

Of course, then the doctor tells her that it looks beautiful anyway.  Ok great so we’ll just called it a beauty mark instead of “Dilated Pore of Weiner” – let’s just go  with that! :-p

Potty Humor

We went on a trip to Chicago for a few days a while back and visited the American girl store on the first night. I made a reservation for me and the girls to have dinner there. Bryon, of course, wanted nothing to do with it. So, he found something to eat elsewhere. Every time he does something without us, I imagine he’s getting his hair blow dried some place and a massage. That’s just the vision that pops into my mind. Maybe because that’s secretly what I want to be doing. Lol.

So, we sit down to eat and I realize they offer unlimited refills of sweet tea. Not good. I spend the entire evening alternating going to the restroom with each girl. I don’t think I even ate.  I should’ve just told them to lay off the drinks but I don’t think I realized what was happening. Sometimes you’re just on auto pilot, right?  They must’ve been flagging down the waitress over and over again for refills while I was in the restroom. Every time I took one girl to the restroom, the other girls were chugging sweet tea, so by the time I came back to the table the next girl was dancing around. Of course, they don’t tell you they have to go because they don’t want to miss out on anything – they just start dancing around so you have to be able to read body language. My kids literally turn into ducks – they squat and stick their butts out and walk in short quick steps. It’s the darnedest thing to see.

Apparently, I scheduled the dinner too late in the evening because the American Girl store was going to close about 20 minutes after we finished dinner. The girls really wanted to shop but there wasn’t much time left. I asked everyone if they had to go to the restroom one last time and of course they said no because they wanted to shop before they closed. The second we get out of the American Girl store and they lock the doors on us, one of the girls (I won’t say which one for anonymity) says they have to go really bad and they are doing the duck walk so I know it’s bad. I’m like Ugh! The closest place was a fancy steak and seafood restaurant!

Well, I knew this was an emergency so we went in and I begged the restaurant host (Maitre d’?) if we could use the restroom it was an emergency and he saw that I had a girl duck on my hands so he said it’s around the corner. There was a long line of women dressed nicely but when they saw my duck they said we should go on ahead. We go on ahead and right when we get in the doorway of the restroom my daughter stops walking and says, “Uh Oh!” and I look down to see a big puddle forming at her feet – in the doorway of the restroom that has a long line into the hallway.

She tries to help me clean it up but we couldn’t manage to get any paper towels to come out of the really convenient automatic paper towel dispenser (I hate those things). She manages to tear off a tiny triangle of paper towel and soaks it in the huge puddle of pee (she drank ALOT of sweet tea, remember) then flings it into the trash can. On it’s way into the trash can, you can see the trajectory of pee drops fling all over the mirror while a lady is trying to do her makeup and some of it hit the lady too. The lady cringes.  I apologize and tell my daughter to please not help me.

Then, I turn back to see my other daughter hovering over the puddle of pee as if she’s trying to see her reflection in it and she starts gagging and dry heaving and I tell her to leave the restroom before she adds to the mess.  I know I wasn’t saying all this in the most pleasing voice either.

Now, I’m looking like mother of the year in front of an audience and I can’t get any paper towels to come out of the super convenient, automated paper towel dispenser. I dance around in front of the paper towel dispenser frantically waving my hands and arms and finally get one paper towel to come out. I throw it on the floor over the pee and take off out of there because I’m absolutely mortified and not convinced I’ll be able to get any more paper towels to come out anyway. And, at this point, I was just looking like a circus side show act that everyone was literally just watching with their mouths hanging open.  Well, at least they weren’t making a video of it.

On our way out of the restaurant, Bryon is on his way in and tells me that the third daughter now has to go to the restroom to which I reply – You. Take. Her. – in my exorcist voice.  So then I have to wait outside in front of the full length windows while people eat their expensive steak and shrimp and wait for my husband to come back out.  That wasn’t painful at all.  Just another day in the life with kids.  :-p

Locked Up At Home

In our house, we turned all the locks around on the kid’s doors so they couldn’t lock themselves in their room.  You see where this story is headed, right?  We should’ve just replaced the door knobs but whatever – details.  One day, I was reading to the kids in my youngest’s room at nap time.  My oldest was in First Grade.  My youngest was 18 months old ish and she decides to lock the door from the outside and close it locking us all inside her room.  Luckily, she was in the room with us!

I did not have my phone on me and  I needed to be able to get to the bus stop to pick up my oldest daughter.  I thought about climbing out the window but we were on the second floor.  I thought about opening the window and screaming as loud as possible but I might give someone a heart attack.  I thought about kicking down the door like Wonder Woman.  I thought about finding an axe like tool in the room and axing through the door like the guy in The Shining.  I’ve watched alot of scary movies in my lifetime especially because I had teenage babysitters (older siblings) when I was younger and they let me watch things like Nightmare on Elm Street when I was in elementary school.  :-p  That didn’t have any side effects – none whatsoever.  :-p  I thought about tying some sheets together and rappelling down like Rapunzel but with sheets.  I finally got my wits about me and noticed that there was a tablet on the girl’s bed.  Great!  So I emailed my husband at work explaining the situation.

Next thing I know, not even 5 minutes later, I see a hairy arm push the door open.  I’m like – oh great –  now I’m about to get murdered because there’s no way my husband could have gotten home that fast. The reason that thought was the very first thing that crossed my mind is because there were no side effects whatsoever to watching Nightmare On Elm Street when I was a kid.  :-p  Well, turns out, it was just my neighbor.  My husband had contacted my neighbor to rescue me.

This was one of those times where I had taken a rest from cleaning for a few days and so my neighbor must have had to levitate to get up the stairs b/c there were toys everywhere!  After he left, I did one of those forensic analysis of the house sessions where you walk around and survey all the crap the visitor must’ve seen.  I’m like – oh great – that’s where my kid just blew their nose and threw down the toilet paper on the floor instead of walking a few steps to the trash can.  Oh and they decided to use q-tips apparently – they’ve never done that before – oh, lots of q-tips.  There’s the area where the girls thought they would make a rainbow loom bracelet but three minutes in abandoned it but managed to still make the room look like a rubber ball exploded.  There’s someone’s dirty underpants.  Greeeeaaaat..  So glad my kid locked me in a room on this day.  You know that feeling?  With kids, you just don’t want any surprise visitors, amirite?

Although, I have a feeling that there are people out there who always have their house clean but I don’t want to know about them because then I would just feel bad.  That happens in a land far, far away that is not my reality.  Now that I look at the title of this post though, I realize that it could also apply to feeling shackled to your house at times.  You know as a parent when you just want to go to the gym with your spouse and how easy that is without kids and how hard that is with kids?  Every.  Single.  Time.  we take our kids to the gym day care, they get seriously ill.  It never fails.  And the last time, my husband caught it and actually had to take off work for a couple of days.  Our kids are just not at that age where we can just leave them at home by themselves for any length of time – maybe the older two but not the youngest.  So, I feel like one day we are going to just go buck wild and like grocery shop all day(just us) or something when we can just actually leave the house unattended, you know?  B/c it’s been so long that we’ve been cooped up that it’s hard to imagine.  One day in a land far, far away.  :-p

IKEA Reno #2

This was our second full gut job of a rental unit.  It’s been 6 months or so now since we completed it I just haven’t had a chance to post.  We chose many of the same options that we chose in our last gut job because those are still all my favorite options.  That’s one thing that’s hard in renovating real estate is that you want to update to what will appeal to anyone and not make it too custom so I try to pick neutrals. Anyway, even in my own house I try to pick neutrals because you can always add color in other ways but it’s expensive to replace thing more permanent things like a counter top, etc.

With this unit we tried to be better at working on all the rooms at the same time since that’s where we got so delayed on the last unit – mainly because we were trying to do all the work ourselves.  This time, we decided to hire out most of the larger items like flooring, kitchen, and bathrooms and we just worked on some of the smaller items which is still time consuming enough.

Flooring:

So, the first thing we had to figure out in this unit was the flooring and not just the flooring but the subfloor as well!  This was an upstairs unit and I literally felt like I had to tiptoe around up there because the floor was so squeaky.  It turns out the people who constructed the building in the 60’s didn’t not use 3/4″ plywood for the subfloor as is the standard today.  They actually used 1 inch think soundproof fiberboard for the subfloor which would’ve been great if they’d put plywood under it.  But the fiberboard flexes and caused a bunch of the nails to come out which was causing it to be super squeaky and flexy.  I literally felt like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh up there bouncing around every time I walked.  It just didn’t feel solid to me.  I wasn’t at all comfortable with it.  The people who have lived below this unit must’ve been super annoyed with all the noise.  We also had a section that was not level by about 2 inches which could’ve just been caused by not having the proper subfloor support – who knows.

First thing we did was hire a contractor to attach sister joists to the joists that were lower to raise them up.  We made sure there was no other damage before doing it and we couldn’t see any.  Then, we had the contractor put 1/2 inch plywood on top of the entire subfloor over the entire unit and secure it through to the joists with 3 inch screws.  He also glued the plywood to the existing subfloor which I was honestly nervous about because I’d rather not use glue since taking it up will be a nightmare, but he insisted it would be better so we just went with it.  We don’t ever plan to take up this new subfloor combo so it’s fine.  It made the biggest difference.  The floor is no longer flexing and moaning.  Then, we put some wood laminate over the top of it with a sound barrier rubber layer underneath it for extra soundproofing.  I think the people downstairs will be much happier now.  We ordered the wood laminate from Lumber Liquidators.  It’s a dark brown wood look color – Farmland Hickory Engineered Vinyl Plank flooring 7mm thick.  But the best thing about it is that it’s water proof.  It was $2.40/sq ft and $2/sq ft installed, which is pricey but we’ve started going with Vinyl Plank in all our units since it lasts so much longer than carpet and people just like it alot better so it’s easier to attract good tenants.

The kitchen flooring had gotten water on it at some point so it was kind of squishy.  We had to pull that up and saw a layer that looked like it could be asbestos.  I sent a piece in to get tested and it turned out not to be – woohooo!!!!!!!!!!!  You have no idea how much of a relief that was.  I had nightmares about that.  So, we were able to get that taken up and we put the same Farmland Hickory EVP down in the kitchen.

Electric:

The building had old electric panels which we had started to upgrade with each renovation since they were Zinsco panels which are no longer up to code.  With this unit though, we needed to upgrade all the panels for the entire building and Ameren was requiring us to move the meters from the garage to the outside of the building.  All we could see was dollar signs on this one.  But AMF electric company really came through for us.  Don Kentch was the manager on the project and he really gave us an excellent price and made quick work of it.  I literally got about 13 companies to come out and bid on this and so many of them just didn’t want to do the work which was shocking to me because we were willing to pay.  They just came and told us don’t do it – it’s going to be too expensive and take too long. But, for us, it was important to get it done so that the building is safe and up to code and that’s not what we wanted to hear.  AMF came in with a quote and wasn’t scared of doing hard work. I was very impressed with them.  And this way we were also able to get more lines run to the kitchen we were about to redo because modern day kitchens need more electrical than kitchens did in the 60’s.  Win-win.

Kitchen:

We chose to do another IKEA kitchen.  The thing I like about IKEA for rentals is that if the tenants damage a cabinet door or something then all we have to do is get a replacement door from IKEA which is significantly cheaper than all new cabinets.  This time though we hired IKEA to do the installation instead of doing it ourselves.  That was a great call.  It took them 3 days vs us taking 3 months.  The installation cost about $2,000.  So. Worth. It.  For the backspash tile, we chose a longer subway tile from Home Depot and they installed for us.  We also got a black quartz countertop from Home Depot that they installed.  We opened up the doorway to the kitchen by removing the cowboy doors and door frame.  For information on our DIY IKEA install, see this post: IKEA Kitchen Install

Bathrooms:

We had the same contractor do our bathrooms again and chose similar tile for the wall and floor.   This time we got a combo fan light put in place for extra lighting in the hall bathroom.

Before and After Pictures:

Dining Room/Living Room – Before
Dining Room/Living Room – After
Dining Room/Living Room – Before
Dining Room/Living Room – After
Kitchen – Before
Kitchen – After
Kitchen – After
Kitchen – After
Kitchen – Before
Kitchen – After
Kitchen – Before
Kitchen – After
Master Bedroom – Before
Master Bedroom – After
Second Bedroom – Before
Second Bedroom – After
Third Bedroom – Before
Third Bedroom – After
Hall Bathroom – Before
Hall Bathroom – After
Hall Bathroom – After
Master Bathroom – Before
Master Bathroom – After
Common Area – Downstairs Front
Common Area – Upstairs Front

9 Times Relaxing as a Mom backfired

These are just times for me that I relaxed as a parent (the rules or otherwise) and it’s backfired.  I know many parents can relate.  With kids, vigilance is key, but who has time for all that?

1.) Jumping over cheerios instead of sweeping them up then feeling them exploding between your toes when you accidentally step on one.

2.) Not making dinner and then having 3 little baby birds all barking different orders at you late at night when you’re at your most exhausted.  If I had made dinner, it would’ve been simple – they all would’ve lost their appetite and played instead.

3.)Not staying on top of the cleaning and then next thing you know, your youngest locks you in the bedroom during story time and your neighbor has to literally carve a path through the toys just to rescue you.  I’m not kidding – this happened to me and it was super embarrassing.  I start to think – oh well nobody is coming over for a few days so maybe I’ll take rest on the cleaning and have some fun with the kids instead.  Then the house explodes and either someone pops on by unexpectedly or your kid locks you in a room.

4.) Instead of making yourself something to eat, you eat some of the kid’s cold, nasty leftovers and then realize that they spit up milk in it and you already ate some of it. Also, I usually wake up the next day with a sore throat whenever I eat after the kids.  I’ve learned to just not do it – it’s not worth it.  Let them eat first and then make yourself something nice and yummy and eat in peace after they nap or something.

5.)  Letting them make slime by themselves in the backyard thinking oh it’s just the backyard – what could be the worst that could happen?  Then, you step back out there a few minutes later and you have a flashback to the movie – Swamp Thing.  Let’s call the fire department because we are going to need a fire hose to get this stuff off.  I actually had to throw some clothes away that day.

6.) Not forcing them to go to the restroom before you go on a hike and then end up having to run through the whole hike because they have to go to the restroom and refuse to go out in the woods.  Or worse, not forcing them to go to the restroom periodically throughout the day and they end up peeing themselves in the doorway to the bathroom of a fancy Chicago restaurant that you didn’t even eat at but just begged them to come in because your daughter is waddling around like a duck about to pee herself on Michigan Ave.  Yes, this happened to us and I’ll have to write about it separately because there really is alot more to that story.

7.) Thinking you can casually go into a Taffy store for fun on vacation and not have any rules beforehand.  I think we spent an hour and a half one time.  The kids each filled a bucket with different types of taffy, like a hundred pieces each in 3 minutes, and then we spent the next hour and a half making them each put the taffy back in the proper buckets by flavor and started making up rules on the fly. That went well.

8.) Letting your child pick out their own clothes because you are tired and forgetting to check out what they are wearing on the way out the door.  Next thing you know, they are getting on the bus looking like a street walker!  Woops!

9.) The time I forgot to remind my daughter to share before going to a birthday party and she scooped all the sidewalk chalk into a pile, sat on it, and hissed, “Mine!” at the rest of the kids.  That was a fun time.  We left shortly after.  Isn’t the terrible 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, …’s fun?

I’ve found as a parent that it tends to work out better if you put in your time first and then you relax in peace.  If you spend 15 minutes playing a game or doing a craft with them, taking them to a super crowded pumpkin patch, or making up rules before doing something fun, it buys you 45 minutes (maybe more) of peace and possibly saves you alot of embarrassing moments.  :-p  Although what’s life without embarrassing moments, right?  Those make the best stories.  🙂  And I am certain to have many more because as they are getting older, I am getting more relaxed.  😛

Yarn Wreaths

 As I was looking up how to make a pine cone wreath, I saw this cute idea for a yarn wreath. I like to do crafts with my girls. Well, scratch that. I like to do crafts and my girls like to do crafts so I try to find stuff we can do together. There’s usually some drama but more fun than drama. But so it goes with any family together time. :-p It’s fun with a tinge of drama – as long as none of us takes the cake with the drama then we are good.

What you will need:
Styrofoam wreath (we bought ours at Joann’s) – Or you can duct tape 2 pool noodles together..
Felt to coordinate with the yarn colors (for the rosettes – we bought ours at Joann’s)
Yarn (assorted colors – we chose a max of 2 colors per wreath because it can get tangly – one would be even easier)
Pins (for the rosettes)
Spray glue
Good scissors
Stapler

To make the wreath:

1.) To start, we stapled the yarn to the wreath with three staples, then used the spray glue and sprayed the wreath in that beginning spot (just a little section) and wrapped around a few times – this made it extra secure.

2.) Every time you wrap around, you have to put the balls of yarn through the wreath which ended up being hard with my little one’s wreath because she picked such a small wreath but she insisted the smallest kid has to have the smallest wreath – lol.

3.) Then just keep wrapping the yarn around and spraying the spray glue every once in a while to make it extra secure.

4.) I wrapped the yarn around the wreath twice to make sure all the white was covered.  One of my daughters wrapped once and the other wrapped haphazardly so who knows how many times she went around. They all turned out fine. Once you get to the end tie a knot in the yarn and you are done with the wrapping of the wreath.

Time to make the rosettes or whatever you want to call them.  I tried to find pre-made felt creations at the store that I could just glue on, but I didn’t find anything that I liked and the girls kept wanting to buy poop emoji  and other ridiculous (sandwiches, hot dogs, etc) stuff which I thought would ruin their wreath so I abandoned that idea and told them we were just going to make our own things to glue on.  Luckily, I found this site that taught me how to make rosettes and also luckily the girls didn’t have any ideas to make poop emojis out of felt – dodged a bullet there.  I like to roll the R when I say rosettes – try it it’s fun.  I nicknamed my little one Rosa for the day because she was a rosette making beast.

To make the rosettes:

1.) Trace a circle onto the felt using whatever you can find.  I used a peanut butter jar that had about a 4 inch diameter, a coaster with a 3 inch diameter and also a circle from our Twister game which was the largest – about 6 inch diameter.  We traced all of these on the different colored felt then cut them out.

2.) Next, cut a spiral out of the circle (make a snake).  That’s not confusing at all, right?  Here’s a picture (as you can tell, you don’t even have to be great at cutting):

3.) Then, roll up the snake into a rosette starting with the tail of the snake.  Here’s a picture (I always wanted to be a hand model):

4.) Last, put a pin through the rosette to hold it together, then hot glue it to the wreath wherever you want it.

One thing to be careful of when making the wreath is to make sure that you don’t have too much line of yarn because it will get tangled very easily. I did have to get out quite a few tangles, but it wasn’t so bad because we were doing all of this while watching TV so we were sufficiently entertained/distracted. I prefer to be distracted when doing crafts because it calms me – music or TV. I also like to have something called Sleepytime Tea which also calms the nerves or at least that’s what the package says – that’s enough to convince me. The stocker at Wal-mart got a real good laugh when I asked him what aisle the sleepytime tea was in (he asked me what kind of tea I was looking for – should’ve made something else up)..

My 9 and 8 year old did theirs all by themselves. They used different strategies to get them done but both look great. My 5 year old couldn’t do the wreath but she did make all her rosettes by herself which completely blew my mind b/c cutting the felt is rather tedious. My 8 year old agreed to make my 5 year old’s wreath for her as long as I promised to let her use the glue gun. I was really nervous that she was going to burn half her face off but it worked out fine. You just have to keep your expectations low like I do. :-p My 8 year old actually glued most of the rosettes on all the wreaths except mine (because I didn’t want to freak out if she messed mine up). And she did better than I probably would’ve done.

We all did ours our own way. My oldest wrapped the yarn haphazardly. She wasn’t able to cover all the white of the styrofoam wreath this way, but it still looks great I think and she got done way quicker than the rest of us. My 8 year old meticulously did hers to cover all the white on the first wrap around because she did NOT want to have to wrap it around again. I wrapped mine around twice in order to cover all the white and I didn’t worry too much about having mine twisted I didn’t mind it being a bit messy or mummy-like.

Cara (my 8 year old) made up this saying we used whenever anyone critiqued any of our wreaths while we were working: “I tried and I tried and all you want to do is blame me.” But you have to say it in kind of a drawn out Minnie Mouse accent type of voice and really drag every syllable out. Here’s a link to Cara’s voice: Voice_170713_1[1]  This had us cracking up the whole time. Once, I got annoyed with Cara because she really tangled up her yarn (and I was of course the designated detangler) and she said this and had us cracking up so the rest of us used it too. This came in handy to break up the intensity of crafting.  So, I say to Sydney after an hour of her making her wreath that I’m not so sure about her strategy because the white will still be showing, etc.  She says, “I tried and I tried…”  LOL.

I used this website as my guide for the wreath: http://millionmoments.net/2013/01/how-to-make-yarn-wreath.html

And this website as my guide for the rosettes: http://millionmoments.net/2013/09/make-felt-flowers-rosettes.html

Here’s a pic of the kids all hard at work:

Pine Cone Wreath

I can’t really decide if this one is a Pinterest win or fail.  I’m still thinking about it.  I’ll let you decide.  The wreath I bought was falling apart and had faded after having it up for 6 years straight so I pulled all the berries off and was left with the wreath skeleton.  Which, when my husband saw it without the berries – he’s like, “Great!  We can just put that up!”.  Lol!

I had some pine cones left over from when I bought some cinnamon scented pine cones from Michael’s like 20 years ago – lol.  They had obviously lost their scent and had gathered so much dust.  They were perfect.  Also, I had my girls collect pine cones from the park as well.  So we had plenty.  I was trying to use stuff I already had or that was free.  I seriously considered making one out of all the kid’s mismatched socks, but thought better of it.  One day I’m going to figure out a use for those.

I cut the pine cones with a tree trimmer like tool.   Or is it a bush trimmer?  I have no idea – found it in the garage.  I guess you can tell I haven’t done any yard work.  Here’s a picture of it:

I actually thought I could use tin snips at first but no way.  These things are hard to cut – you need something heavy duty.  And some of the cuts aren’t going to go well so plan for that.  Then, I put them in a box and spray painted them red – actually this color from Home Depot.  I love red (it’s apple red):

I wanted to do multi-color but I didn’t feel like buying more paint so it’s all red which worked out because then I could just slop them on there however I wanted.  I hot-glued them on there – seems to be going pretty well so far.  We’ll have to see if they start falling off.

However, I think I could’ve spaced them out a little better – it looks like it has ears.  Maybe I’ll add a few more filler pine cones at a later date, but I ran out of spray paint because I used half of it for something else so for now this is going to have to be good enough!

I think it looks especially good from afar – at least that’s what I think.  Or maybe the Home Owner’s Association is going to write in the bylaws – no DIY wreaths – because of my creation.  We shall see.  Lol.

Here’s a close up:

Mommy Independence Day

I think every Mom should celebrate Mommy Independence Day.  This should be a day on the calendar every year in which the Mom gets to celebrate all the things she no longer has to do for her kids.  I mean they do have National Peanut Butter Lover’s day and National Cheese Doodle day so why not?  The end of wiping bottoms would top this list of celebrations.  I know every time my kids have reached a milestone, I celebrated with a great big Hallelujah!  Here’s some of the milestones we can celebrate with glee:

1.) When the kids can put on their own shoes.  Especially when they can tie them themselves.  Of course, it won’t be perfect (laces will frequently be untied), but we no longer have to do it – we can bark at them to do it – woohoo!

2.) Put on their own clothes.  Especially when they can pick them out themselves and not look like street walkers (but I guess this might adjust again when they become teenagers where it seems the goal is to look like a street walker at times).  Not my kids, I’ll have to start picking out their clothes again if it comes to that.  My husband doesn’t even like them to wear the leggings that are so popular these days.  My daughter was horrified the time she tried to wear leggings with a “not long enough” sweater and my husband told her to put on some “real pants”.  :-p

3.) Going on the potty.  The downside to this is that you will spend way more time than you want to in public restrooms which is disgusting.  Every time you run an errand, you hear the dreaded, “Mommy, I have to use the potty!”.  Or, “Mommy, I need a drink of water!” which you refuse because you know it will lead to having to go to the potty.  In fact, I just stopped drinking water altogether when I became a Mom because I didn’t want to have to take the kids to the public restroom – Moms don’t have time to use the restroom.  :-/  And I am still traumatized by the time I took my kids to the restroom only to have my 2 year old dig in the little maxi pad trash can.  “Look mommy!”  I’ll never forget that – I’m sure we all have our own horror stories about public restrooms, right?  :-p

4.) Feeding themselves.  And then, comes the even better milestone of them actually liking food!  Hallelujah!  My oldest started liking food at about age 8.  My middle child is starting also to like food and she’s 8 so maybe 8 is the magic number?  There’s hope everyone!  Of course, they still have their quirks with food but overall they are so hungry they will eat most things – woohoo!

5.) Being able to make their own sandwich.  And then, comes the even better milestone of them being able to make their own sandwich without creating a beach (sandy beach made of bread crumbs) in the kitchen.

6.) Reading.  And then comes the enjoying reading milestone.  This one is amazing!  Now, they can entertain themselves!  But, if you have multiple kids, they always seem to act at the lowest common denominator so I assume that you won’t get the full benefits of this until the youngest one really gets into reading.  Our youngest wants her siblings to play all the time with her and they can’t catch a break, so they only get to read at bedtime and when the youngest is occupied.  :-/

7.) Being able to reach the sink to wash their hands.  This was a big one for me because I have had back problems and nothing seems to aggravate the back more than picking up wiggly kids who can’t seem to wash the soap off just right, etc.  “Mommy, my hands are still sticky from soap – I need to rinse them more!”.  I used to improvise and get down on one knee and let them use my other knee as a step stool.  Also not good for the knees though. :-p

Of course, we will always be mothers and we love being moms, but it’s ok to celebrate when our role changes, right?  I can’t help but celebrate.  Our role is constantly changing, but we can always take comfort in the fact that we are still Mom and our kids will always need us in one way or another.  I prefer they need us conversationally as opposed to, “Mommy, you need to wipe my butt!”.  😀