The Mini Triathlon-Too cute NOT to watch!!

I wanted to think of a way to get my kids involved in my triathlon race and fundraising.  I decided what would be better than doing a “mock mini triathlon” for them and some of their friends (that I know are allowed to be recorded and put on YouTube!!!)  So the Mini Triathlon came to life.  I made them each a race bib (not sure if you can see but they all are some from of 48-Kids FAV #, no clue why!), set the date and Boom!  Here we go!

We tried to get the bibs on and line them up for some pics *Not an easy task, it was after 6:30 on a school evening so we were asking for trouble!  We did better when we asked them to do something silly or fun-

Like saying, “We are #1!”

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Based on timing and well all participants under the age of 6 we didn’t do it in “real triathlon” order.  We did the bike, then run, then swim (2 days later!).  They had a blast and of course we had some tears (well everyone but 2 I think-Blame it on too close to BEDTIME!!)

So please take a minute and watch this too cute video of my little munchkins and their besties-if it doesn’t make you smile You Crazy!!!!

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Father’s Day from 2 sons

So this is the week before Father’s day and my husband is a sentimental guy so I always try to give him something special.  We already have one thing ready (a plate with hand prints) but wanted to do something else.  I had in mind what I wanted to do so I just had to figure my game plan to execute it.  Son #1 recently quit daycare to stay home with me but he spent the first two Father’s day at Primrose and they always make fantastic crafts especially for holidays and special days.  So not to be out done I worked to make a similar item we got the first year he was at Primrose.

We made imprints of both boys hands and feet.  This may sound simple enough but I tried this last year with plaster of paris and it was a ROCK HARD MESS!  We did it on the driveway and left remnants of the plaster all over the place.   Then I let it dry on a paper plate thinking it would easily peel off but then couldn’t get it off the paper plate.  The husband thought it was wonderful and it sits on the paper plate in his office (in the drawer actually).  You could hardly tell what it was, not my finest crafting moment.

So this time I started with Crayola Air-Dry Clay, White, that I bought from Wal-Mart (very reasonable for a 5 lb tub).  This stuff is awesome.  It is easy to mold and it air drys if you leave it out or you can let the kids re-use over and over again.  I am going to use this for other projects to come!!!

We had all our materials: the clay, parchment paper, saran wrap, and my rolling pin so we got started.

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With the parchment paper laid out we put a good size clump of clay on the paper and then put the saran wrap on top.  This made sure the clay didn’t stick to the rolling pin or the table (learned this making sugar cookies!)

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Next I put Son #1 on the job to roll out the clay (with a little help of course).  We left it about 1/2″ thick evenly across the rolled clay. I made it in a sort of oval/circular shape with enough room for my 2 year olds foot and hand as well as room to write on it.

Once you have the thickness/shape/size you want slowly remove the saran wrap.  I flipped the clay over and the surface that was on the parchment paper is much smoother to do the imprint.  I took Son #1’s foot and hand and pressed down pretty hard.  We practiced a couple times making the imprints and he was having fun rolling the dough so we played a little bit with ours.

IMG_6612After a couple rounds we got one of his hand and foot we liked (left foot, right hand) we did Son #2 which was much easier than doing the ink stamped plate!  You have a little room to move the hand or foot around before pressing hard so if you have a wiggly baby you don’t have to worry about ruining this like you do with paint hand print projects.We did it the exact same way we did Son #1’s  so that dad will have matching plaques.

I took the finished product to a secret, secure location (haha!  the spare closet) where the husband wouldn’t find it so it could dry.  The tub said 2-3 days to dry but I think it takes a little less.  We kept it there for 3 days.  IMG_6613

I went in and checked on it every day to see how it was drying, just out of curiosity.  It slightly lightened in color which I really liked and I was happy with how it looked.

I used a sharpie to write each boys’ name and the year at the top.  The Sharpie didn’t write the best but it was all I had.  Another type of pen or marker may work better.  Then we wrapped them up and are ready to give to dad!

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This is a great gift to do year after year or even just to have as a memento.   I am really happy with the end result and will do this again each year for my husband.  He wants to put them all on a shelf to see how they grow each year.

I really like this clay and also think that I could have the boys paint it for another project…hmmm next craft project maybe???? LOL

I was thinking about getting a shadowbox and putting the imprints in the frame.  Not sure if it will work or not but will try and keep you posted!

Happy Father’s Day and Happy Crafting!!

Making Lasting Memories

I recently had my second baby boy and sadly this will be my last. Part of me would love #3 and a chance for a baby girl but it isn’t in the cards for me.   I have started putting clothes into piles as he grows out of them: donate, give to friends and sell.  I still have that fleeting thought of a keep pile but not sure what I would do with them.  There are 2 outfits I just can’t part with and I am sure you know where I am going with this: the clothes the boys came home from the hospital in.  They were from 2 of my favorites stores too: Gap and Carters.  A sweet little penguin one piece with a matching hat both sweater material.  The second was super soft baby blue 2 piece with an elephant and matching striped hat.  I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these outfits!   Every time I look at them it reminds me of those special days and I can’t part with them.

I thought about trying to make a blanket or pillow with them but really thought that would look weird so I asked a girlfriend if she was saving hers.  She said yes and that she bought teddy bears that she was going to dress with the hospital clothes.  While I liked that idea I didn’t think that really went with the feel of my house or my decor.  I tried to Google the topic but really didn’t find anything.  I also looked on my favorite site, Pinterest but nothing came up on that either.  I couldn’t think of anything all that great to do and put them back in the closest.

Then about 2 weeks ago I found a shadowbox I bought when boy #1 came along.  I had put a picture, his little cap from the hospital and a couple other things in it.  To be totally honest, it was a hot mess!  It didn’t flow together and just looked all hodge podged.  That’s when the clothes I saved came to mind, perfect!  The shadowboxes came with velcro but that didn’t hold up I found from my first attempt.  So I grabbed some push pins and got to work.

I took the outfits and centered them in the box.  I tried to lay them out to give it some dimension instead of laying flat in the box.  I redid it a couple times (and probably will continue until I love it!) I pinned in several places and tried to hide them or at least use colors that the tips would blend.  I then took the matching hats and put on the left side and the hat the wore in the hospital on the right.  I also put their hospital bracelets on the left arm of the outfit.  I have a baby ring from my dad that my mom gave me on my wedding day that was attached to my bouquet with a strip of my baby blanket.  I bought a baby ring for my son and attached it also which I put in the box also.  I don’t have one for baby #2 but I plan to add it soon.

I have two different styles of shadowboxes because I bought them at different times but I plan to get both to match eventually.  I bought them at Michael’s (which is one of my least favorite places EVER) and the quality is blah but it is close and they have coupons but that is another story for later.

So below are pictures of my final project, I put them on the wall tonight and am happy with my outcome.  I put them in each of the boys rooms and boy #1 was so excited to see it on the wall (let’s be clear it is the first thing that has gone on his wall so that might be why too!)

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While I still am holding on to a couple other outfits these will stay with our family forever and the boys will someday appreciate-I hope:)  I may come up with another idea for some other favorite outfits and if so I will share when it comes to me!

 

Ways to Save-This Thifty Moms Favorite Sale

Toys at a sale

Toys at a sale

I am sure many people know about what I am going to write about today but  can’t help it I have to give my two cents.  One of my favorite places to shop are the Mom sales.  I had never heard of these sales until about 2 years ago.  I was Very skeptical because I am not really a fan of garage sales because I never find anything that was worth all the driving around and I don’t like getting one thing here, one thing there.  I am more one stop shop if I am buying second hand.  I also am particular about quality and condition of items I buy I want them to be in darn close to brand new condition.  So needless to say it took some convincing to go to my first sale but now I am hooked and look forward to each sale I find.

I have a couple things that have helped me get the best deals and not miss out which I am going to share my secrets below! Each sale is set up differently.  Style 1 is more garage sale like that each seller has their own area while others Style 2 group all the items together-this is the kind of sale I prefer because you don’t have to worry about finding something in better condition or spending all your money at the start of the sale and then see more at the end.

First: Where to find the sales locally-Word of mouth from other moms is always great because they have more than likely been to the sale before and can give you the low down.  Also, online of course.  Facebook has some pages dedicated to sales.  My favorite for Ohio is Ohio Mom to Mom Sale Facebook Page it has a page of all the sales and then a few days before posts on their wall all the upcoming sales.

Second: Do your research-Try and find out as much as  you can about the sale: hours they are open, is there an admission fee, do they take credit cards or cash only, how large of a selection do they have/how many sellers do they have, what sizes they sell and what kinds of toys they sell.  Some mainly sell second hand where others have new toys from Melissa & Doug, etc.

Third-Volunteer-This is by far the best way to get the best deals (aside from being apart of the organization holding the sale).  Usually you can sign up with the organization that is sponsoring the event and work a 2-4 hour shift (this varies on their policy), I have also brought food and been considered a volunteer.  Basically there is always a “pre-sale” for those that are working that takes place Before the sale starts.  This is the best way to shop. Why?  Several great reasons: Shopping before everything has been picked over, not as stressful because there aren’t as many shoppers, you can actually get to all the areas you want to shop without having to wait and the line to check out isn’t as long.

Fourth-Get there early-even for a pre-sale.  The line will always start before the doors open.  This can vary on the sale from an hour to three hours.  I don’t feel like I have to be the first one in but I like to be in the first 1/3 of the line because I know I will have a great chance at the items I am looking for.

Fifth-Have a list and your smartphone-I always make a list of items I would like to find.  Sometimes this is specific (last time was Little Einstein figurines) and sometimes it is general (last time outdoor play gym/house).  I write this on my notes in my iPhone about a week before and keep adding anything I think of so I don’t forget.  I also use my phone to check prices on items that I am not sure if they are overpriced or a rare find.

Sixth-Make your Game Plan-For Style 1 (the more garage sales) decide where you want to start, sometimes going all the way to the back is best (but you are working against flow) or make a lap and then go back to the sellers you are interested in but you do risk something being sold by the time you get back to it.  Style 2-whether you want to hit the clothes first or large toys figure out where you want to go first based on what you would be more disappointed in not getting.  I usually hit large toys first, then small toys then clothes.  Mainly because I can usually find that special item (only one of) in the toy section and it takes me longer to go through the clothes than it does the toys.

Seventh-Look over all your items-Style 1-Check the items as soon as you pick it up.  If it does have some damage/stain that you can live with ask them for a discount.  They may have priced accordingly or maybe didn’t know it had it, can’t hurt to ask.  Style 2-I will grab anything I am interested in (if you have to think about the purchase TAKE IT because if it is a good item it will be gone by the time you make up your mind) and then when I worked my way through the sale I find a spot out of the way and double check all my items and get an idea of how much I am spending.  Clothes: check for holes and stains, make sure to look on the back and under collars and along the seams.  Toys: make sure all the pieces are there and that it does what it is suppose to.  If it doesn’t have batteries that is a crap shoot on if it really works or not.  For me it depends on the cost and how much I think my son will like it that I take the chance.

My Final piece of Advise-Bring a friend-it is always more fun with your best pal-ENOUGH SAID!

Racks and Racks of Clothes

Racks and Racks of Clothes

The Beginning

This is my first ever blog post.  I like to keep things short and sweet so my blogs will be just that, it’s who I am!

IMG_1132 I plan on writing about things that I enjoy and the new experiences I plan on having with my family.  I have a 2 year old and an 8 week old, currently on maternity leave from my fashion retail job and loving being with my boys.  Last week I celebrated my 10 year anniversary.  We took the boys to Build a Bear because the day before our wedding both me and my husband went to build a bear (separately) to make a bear for each other.  It was a new store so I guess we both thought it was a great way to have memories of our wedding day.