Dads Birthday (Not my dad!!!) 2017

This year the kids decided to make Dad some homemade cards (that were very decorative!!) and we made a personal pillow. I found a pillow at Walmart (for $5!!), it was an outdoor decorative pillow which was great because it was a synthetic material so the paint stuck perfectly.pillowWhile at Walmart I also got some multi surface craft paint (under $1.00) and we were set to decorate our pillow! paint923c850e-f47a-4ecb-b3b3-39c7693f9fb0_1.a82129ad3f0cfa55136199e4096eb3cf

The first thing I did was check to make sure the paint would work on the pillow so I made a little dot on the pillow, let it dry then tried to rub it off.  It didn’t smudge so we were ready to go!

We did a practice round and I brushed the paint on to their hands, FYI it apparently tickles when this is done 🙂  We practiced on some paper so I could figure out the right amount of paint to put on their hands.  Then I did the oldest (Pdawg) first (biggest hand!), then middle man (Mr. J) but when I got to baby girl I didn’t know if I should do hands or feet.  She isn’t a fan of things that feel “weird” so she tends to ball her hand up.  On the practice try she did good but from past experience I wasn’t sure I wanted to take the risk because I only had one shot with the pillow!  So I decided to do her feet instead.  She DID NOT like that at all.  Poor girl cried the whole time.

I was happy with how the prints turned out but it needed something else.  So I wrote each kids initial by their print and added the year and month.  Presto DONE!!!


Their Dad loved it Successful Birthday gift complete!


1 month into training

Well I have been training for a little over a month for the Triathlon and I would say I am doing OK, I have gotten on the bike a few times (see picture with the kiddos in tow!!)


and have been running regularly improving my time!!!  BUT I have yet to even put my toe in the pool.  I’m not gonna lie, the Y pool is COLD and the May weather in Ohio hasn’t been cooperating so the thought of getting in a cold pool to then go outside in the cold hasn’t been very motivating.    I also had strep (AGAIN!!!) this past month so that set me back a bit.  BUT I vow to get in the pool in the next week!!!  HAHA I have also said I am getting up at 6am every morning from now on (ask me how that’s going!!!!) but the pool is the least of my worries.  I love to swim laps and once I start we will be good to go!!!

My bike has a tune up and I have semi new shoes but I haven’t found my swim cap yet (I THINK I know where my goggles are!).  I also need to start to think about what I will wear for the actual triathlon.  When I did my first one, I was sooooo unprepared.   I believe I kept my swimsuit on the entire time-Holy Chapping!!!!  Stay tuned, I need to do some research.

So stay tuned, the husbands birthday is coming up and we gotta do something crafty!!!

Until next time.

The Plunge

I had my last baby 15 months ago and I have been trying to get back into shape.  Right before I got married (14 years ago) I signed up with MIT for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to do the DAM (It was my personal DAMN) Triathlon and had NO CLUE what I was doing.  I was getting planning a wedding, helping my mom refurbish their 200+ year old house, moving to a new city, trying to train for this (DAMN/DAM) Triathlon and raise funds.  I didn’t know many people so I did a lot of random things to raise money.  I did bake sales, I printed letters and walked around neighborhoods and spoke to people and talked to family members.

As for the training well let’s just say I was clueless.  I tried to train and I felt good about the swimming but the stamina I had no clue about.   Nor did I have a clue about how the whole transitioning from event to event worked… So after I raised the money, off I went to the DAM (DAMN!) Triathlon.  The hotel was cool and the people were super nice. I can’t say at this time I remember much more.  My mom and sister came to support me which was fantastic.  So when the guys were unloading our bikes one commented about mine being a mountain bike (So?  It’s a bike right? apparently NOT.)  They told me not to worry about it, I should be fine (uh-oh).

The next morning the Triathlon starts and I start off strong with the swimming.  I am freaked out though because I never swam outside, just in the nice pool at the Rec center.   I did fine, mom said I came out in first 25% of the pack so I was happy.  I didn’t swim in a swimsuit because I didn’t want to change so I just put on a pair of shorts and tank top and off I went on my bike.  Everything I heard and read said the bike is the easiest part and that is when you can catch your breathe and refuel for the run.  So I was feeling good.  But remember the mountain bike thing?  Oh and when they pulled it off the bike one of the bike tech guys said my brake was leaning on my wheel just a little bit and he TRIED to fix it but wasn’t sure it would be permanent because he didn’t have all his stuff with him…UH-OH.  So without going into to too many details basically it was miserable, the bike wasn’t a break, I didn’t get to refuel and I when I thought I was done after going up the HIGHEST bridge I have ever seen (probably not but it felt like it on my bike) the volunteers at the race yelled, “good job on the first loop!” Wait, WHAT????  I had to go around again?!?!?!  I almost broke down and cried right there and then.  I was so exhausted and the thought of the bridge again just crushed my soul.  That is how this became and will always be known (by me) as the DAM/DAMN Triathlon.  After the race I found out my brake was on my wheel the whole time just a little but enough to slow me down especially going down hills, uh.  AND a mountain bike is NOT a good bike for a road race-common sense eluded me.   To finish, I finished exhausted but I had done it.

So fast forward back to today.  That was not a great experience for me so I need some revenge!  I don’t know if they still do that particular Triathlon (not gonna lie, didn’t look too hard!) But I found the Chicago Triathlon and it looks awesome!  AND I can raise money for an great charity!  (more about this in another post).

So please follow my blog as a navigate through this Triathlon training, hopefully much smarter than the first time!!

And if you feel compelled to contribute to my race below is my Link, anything would be awesome, thanks so much!!!



OMG Facebook Selling Pages!

So my latest obsession is local selling pages on Facebook.  If you are down with second hand and like a bargain check this out.

I was introduced to my first one about a month ago.  These sites are brilliant for both buyers and sellers.  It is a garage sale at your fingertips.  I have never been a huge fan of garage sales just because I don’t like driving all over town, getting out of the car and not seeing one thing of interest.  Or even worse, not getting out of the car because the description of the sale is no where near what they have.  The selling pages skip all that-Love!

At first I didn’t really get it but then the more I watched the more addicting it became.  Someone starts the page as an administrator and they make the rules. Usually it is pretty basic: have a picture, price and description.  Also, be honest and fair with how you deal with people.  You are also suppose to do all initial communication on the page not private messages until you get to personal information.  This can be good and bad which I will get to later.  A lot of them are closed groups and you have to be invited and approved.  The idea behind it is more of a community and more honesty.   Of course there are still issues that arise but I think overall everyone abides by the rules and stays honest.

It is first come first get so you have to be fast (this is the addicting, constant watch!!!  Kind of like Ebay bidding so the last second when it first began).  This is were the addiction comes in because if it is something really hot it people comment in under a minute and they have first dibs on the item.  Then people claim “back up” or second, third, fourth, etc in line if the people above them pass or don’t finish communication.  Usually children’s items go the fastest if they are priced right, for example: ride on items, playhouses, and water tables to name a few.  There is also room for negotiation but you have to be careful about it because everyone in the group can see your request.  So someone can comment they will give the seller full price which puts you in a spot to pass or pay full price.  This is the downside to having everything communicated on the page.  The upside is that if you are not the initial person you are able to read what is going on with the item.  It is also like being a fly on the wall sometimes seeing what is going on with hot items or topics people bring up.

Here are some tips based on my experiences:


-Check often and a lot.  Add notifications on the Facebook page to all.  If it is a busy site you will constantly get updates but you will have a better chance in getting an item you find interesting.

-If you see something you like immediately comment and say you are interested.  You aren’t obligated to buy but it will put you first in line if you catch it fast enough.  Caution on this: ask what you need to know to make your decision and then let them know if you want it or pass.  This is a common courtesy to the seller and another potential buyer.  But if you wait to think about it you may miss it.  That has happened to me several times!

-Contact the seller once you have been told its yours!  Get information on where they live and pick up options.  Sometimes people will meet you or you pick it up at their house.  I have had people drop off  items I bought at my house but I think I was super lucky!  Once an arrangement has been made keep your end of the deal.


-Clean your item up, nobody wants to pick up a dirty item plus people tend to want more $ off if it is dirty.

-Post a good pic, short description and a GOOD price.  I also leave a little room for negotiation on a big item but if it is small I make it a price that can’t be resisted.

-Once you have a buyer let everyone know “sold pending pick up” in your comment section.  Once it is picked up delete the post off the wall.  Both of these things are common courtesy so people know it’s gone and deleting helps to not clog the site.

-I try to pretty much post everything that I am about to take to goodwill.  I price it cheap because I figure a few dollars is better than nothing.  Those items I leave on the porch for people to pick up and leave money at my door.  I don’t want to have to wait around for someone for $3.  My thought is that it is a community and most people aren’t going to steal from you.  But I am taking a chance and figure I am out a few dollars.  Anything larger I make sure I am home to actually make a transaction.

-Some people do post things for free just to get rid of.  This is nice if you don’t want to make a trip to a donation center.

If you join a group, have fun and remember it’s addicting!!!

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.


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!)



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!


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!)

pdawg jake











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!


Caribbean Jerk Chicken with Fruit Salsa

The weather if finally breaking and we decided to grill out tonight after a much needed walk. Both the husband and I were wanting something light so we decided on chicken.


I took some chicken and marinated it in Lawry’s Caribbean Jerk Marinade with Papaya Juice for about 2 hours.  We grilled the chicken and I decided to jazz it up with some fruit salsa.  I have never made this before so I was definitely experimenting.  I usually have a recipe for everything I make but wanted to use what I had at the house and so I created the below recipe:

The prep time is about 30 mins for the salsa.

1 Medium Granny Smith Apple

-1 Medium Orange

-1 1/2 cups pineapple

-1/4 Green Pepper

-1 Small Red Pepper

-1/4 cup onion

-1/2 Tablespoon Parsley

-1 Teaspoon Cumin

-1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice

Chop fruit and vegetables to small pieces and mix all ingredients.

Once chicken is grilled put generous portion of salsa on top-Delish and Light!  Hope you Enjoy!