Monday, December 31, 2012

Emma's Room Makeover!

My little girl is growing up. And she thought her bedroom was too childish, and wanted something more mature that she can "come home to from college."

Crap. That whole college thing is really just a couple years off. When the heck did I get this old? Also, where are all those Barbies and dress up clothes that used to be in this room?

After some Pinterest searching, crafting, painting, etc. we created a masterpiece. :)

First project: we repainted the rainbow colored dresser to mimic an "ombre" style that we saw on Pinterest:

The rainbow colored before, and the much-improved after:

Emma's room was really fun and bright and colorful before.  The dresser is evidence of that... and the walls of her room were intense.  Three walls were neon green, and the fourth wall was an awesome grid of random colors, precisely measured and painted by my wonderful hubby when we first moved here. The striped and polka dot bedding in the same bright colors kicked it up a notch.
We LOVED the awesome painted grid wall for a long time. And then, it got a little old.

The new, neutral gray walls will match whatever bedding Emma decides on in the future.  Also the dresser is basically the best thing ever.

The newly painted dresser in its redone room. We painted the sides and top the same color as the walls and you really notice the blues that way. 

The wall next to the bed has the start of a random mirror collection that was also inspired by Pinterest and looks pretty neat so far.  Emma painted the chevron pattern now hanging above her bed. She's got some talent!

I think the new bedding that somebody's cool mom bought for Christmas really ties it all together.

Here's a before-and-after photo:
This was a fun day of completely transforming a room! Now if I can just convince my son that he needs a room makeover too, I'll get to take more before and after photos!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Best Christmas Surprise Ever.

My kids are both officially teenagers now, and my opportunities to do kid stuff with them are running out.  I've wanted to take them to Disney World one more time while they were still "kids" since the only other time we went, they were really little and barely remember it.

A winter special offering a free dining plan seemed like a good deal.... and right at Christmas time! So after a great amount of persuading my husband, trying my hardest to be adorable and impossible to say no to, and subtly suggesting to friends that they mention it (AKA text him to help convince him) he agreed! We decided to surprise them on Christmas morning. A surprise vacation means that is one big gift that takes the place of several others, and therefore we spend less on Christmas gifts to help offset the cost of the trip. Everybody wins!

I researched resorts, booked dining reservations, and spent hours upon hours researching Disney tips and creative ways to do a countdown to our trip.

I found Disney candies and Disney journals to use as autograph books at the dollar store, and hid them for their stockings. I ordered Disney tshirts online for each of us.

We wrapped a big box with Mickey wrapping paper and filled it with the new Disney T-shirts we bought, along with the customized maps I ordered, a sign that said, "You're Going to Disney World" and a few balloons:

Unfortunately while I was assembling the box, my puppy stole the Santa Mickey that I wanted to include.... and he needs a little plastic surgery:

Christmas morning, as the last gift, I pulled over the big box and told the kids to open it together. And while I secretly hoped the videotaped reveal would be so awesome it would go viral and end up on the Today show, it didn't really get there. My daughter thought it was a prank at first! Then she threatened to kill us all. I still think it turned out pretty good. :)

Merry Christmas! See THIS POST for an awesome countdown I made to our trip, and see HERE for a ridiculously and unnecessarily complicated Disney Christmas ornament my husband and I made.

A Disney Vacation Countdown

So for Christmas we gave the kids a Disney trip. (see link HERE) Pretty awesome, right? We don't leave for 31 days from Christmas and I wanted something tangible to include with the gift to count down the days till we will be on our way to the most magical place on earth.

Pinterest yielded lots of boring results, like those rings you made in elementary from construction paper and strung together for a Christmas countdown. But eventually I found this inspiration piece originally intended for advent and Disneyed it up.


I used Disney scrapbooking supplies and stickers, and a picture frame I had in the garage, plus leftover ribbon from THIS PROJECT and some adorable tiny clothes pins I found at Meijer for $2.

On the back of each numbered piece is a fun Disney fact or an activity like "play Disney scene it" or "pick out your must-see attractions at Magic Kingdom." I found my fun facts HERE.

And here's the finished product:

the back, with all the facts and activities
 What do you think? 

See my other Disney Christmas project, a Mickey Santa ornament HERE.

Disney Christmas Ornament Craft Semi-Fail

While planning our Disney Christmas Surprise (see posts HERE and HERE) I spent too many hours on the Disney Store's website looking for things to spend money on.  I only ended up with tshirts, but I seriously considered an ornament, since it was a Christmas surprise and all.  However, the one I liked the most was $16.95 for ONE ornament, and looked like something I could totally make myself! So I saved the image, and kept my eyes peeled during my holiday shopping for the supplies. 

buy it from Disney here

Amazingly, I found ornaments that already had the little black glittery Santa belt on them! Now all I needed was black glittery ears. No problem, right?

Except there is NO store in my entire town that sells black glitter. I went everywhere--department stores, drug stores, dollar stores, even Hallmark. Nothing. 

Plus, I couldn't find foam balls the right size for my ornament. I couldn't find anything that could create the mouse ears except small plastic ornaments, which wouldn't be perfect due to the part that sticks up on the top, but I decided to make do. No one will look at the back anyway!  Still, though, no black glitter. The belt on the ornament was made from black glitter, and I would accept absolutely NO substitute. 

The day before Christmas eve, my good friends, who knew about my black glitter situation, happened to be in a neighboring town with a craft store, and saved the day by picking some up for me!

Finally, ear balls and black glitter in hand, I sat down with my husband who agreed to craft with me because he's amazing and I don't deserve him. We started out covering the ornaments with glue and sprinkling the glitter on top. But too much of the red underneath was showing through.  Then, we decided to paint them black first. And in a stroke of genius, I realized the paint could also double as glue for the glitter--efficiency, yay! 

But painting the tiny ornaments was not working out.... our fingers were getting covered, and we didn't like the brush marks. Next option: my husband suggested we fill a shot glass and DIP the ornaments in the paint. 

Then we tried that. And the craft paint I had was a bit old.... and clumpy. So we laughed and cursed as we got more black paint on our hands and picked clumps of paint off the ornaments. Finally smooth enough for us to deal with, we started sprinkling black glitter on. And then were faced with a new dilemma-- what do we do with them while they dry? 

We didn't have any idea. So we just sat there, watching tv, holding tiny, painted, glittered ornaments in our hands, waiting for the paint to dry. Originally I planned to make four of these ornaments, one for each of us. But that would require 8 tiny, painted, glittered ornaments. So then I decided we'd have just one for the family to share!

The next morning, I practiced gluing the failed ear balls to an ornament. And the super glue didn't hold. The only option left was hot glue, and that really wasn't ideal either, but basically I was VERY done with this project.... so big ol' clumps of hot glue are visible on the finished product. 

After way too much time, and way too much paint and glitter everywhere, we finally had a Mickey on our tree! The low light makes it look way better in the picture than it does if you look closely in daylight.
Total cost for this project: 
$5 Santa ornaments
$3 tiny red ornaments
$3 elusive black glitter
$0 black paint and hot glue gun I already owned.
Had I made 4 of these it would have been a steal compared to the $16.95 each, but it was still cheaper overall, though not as nice... however, it made for an interesting night of crafting with the husband, and you can't put a price on that!
Ever tried a project to save money that went wrong?    

Friday, December 21, 2012


Tonight, with the house to myself, and cold, snowy weather outside, I did what any lady would do with valuable alone time: I watched a romantic comedy and drank wine.

Notting Hill is a great guilty pleasure. As the romantic tension grows, I'm reminded of the great love in my life, and shamelessly post a wedding picture with sappy comment to declare my heart-filling happiness.

Then my daughter texts me from her dad's house, asking about a stuffed animal. Her boyfriend is leaving for Italy with his mom tomorrow (lucky kid) and they won't see each other for two weeks. She asks me to spray a little stuffed puppy with her perfume for him to take along to remind him of her.

All together, now: awww!

He comes to pick it up, and it's an adorable example of young love. Movies just can't compare to real life, people.

Il'l just be here, wiping tears off my face and stuff. And searching the movie channels for more love stories.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


I got the following email from my daughter's school today:

Dear Parents –

As students continue to process the tragedy that occurred last Friday, we wanted you to be aware of some items that have come to our attention.

We have received vague reports of threats to the school coinciding with the end of the Mayan calendar on 12/21/12.  

It is our practice to fully investigate every report that we receive.  We have not found any credible evidence of danger to our students.   We will continue to investigate any information concerning the safety and well-being of our students.   

During the day, teachers keep classroom doors locked and have been asked to increase hallway supervision during passing periods.   The Noblesville Police Department and our Resource Officers provide security on a daily basis.  Tomorrow, officers will have a greater presence in and around our campus.

The safety of our students and staff is our top priority.  We appreciate your cooperation and support in our efforts to keep NHS safe. 

My daughter is freaked out. They talked about it in classes, with teachers. I don't know what all was said, but nonetheless Emma doesn't want to go to school tomorrow. 

How I handle this situation is definitely important for many reasons.

I don't want to reinforce that you let fear hold you back in life, and that you can just stay home from anything that is threatening. Because driving a car is more likely to kill you than a school shooting, statistically. Yet she still wants a drivers license.  And as we know from the recent explosion on the south side of Indianapolis, you aren't even safe in your own home.  Threats are everywhere. The potential for someone to come to school with a gun exists every single day.  Living life in fear is not going to be productive or useful or healthy. 

I want my children to learn real lessons from this situation. That you can't let those crazy people steal your life from you with threats. You can't give them that power. 

That said, there is something very scary about sending your child to school when there are known, though "vague" threats out there.  And all my justifications certainly don't put my daughter at ease. And they don't put me at ease, either. If something did happen, I'd never be able to forgive myself for sending her to school. 

I've talked with my husband, Emma's dad, and my friend who works for Noblesville Schools. And I think that it's the right decision to send her. She has finals tomorrow, too, which makes it a more important day to attend, and probably is slightly fueling her desire to say home. 

Am I making the right decision? Who knows. That's what parenting is--using your best judgement to do what's right for your kids, and you usually aren't sure what the right thing is. And often it's about balancing safety with other factors, including important life lessons.  If there's another threat in three weeks, in a month, in two months, am I going to keep her home and secluded from the world? Do we stop driving, stop going to amusement parks because the rides could break down, stop going into tall buildings? 

I won't sleep well tonight. And I'll be worried all day tomorrow. But I have faith that the staff of her school will do everything to protect her, because their lives are on the line too, should any threats be real. 

What do you think? Would you keep your kid home?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Stocking Hanging solutions from the Dollar Store.

Back in the old days, they put a nail in the mantle to hold stockings. I don't do that, it's too destructive. Now we use these heavy, decorative stocking holders that sit on your mantle with a little hook for your stockings. The problem? They are a bit expensive.  A set of four is like $25!

The stocking hangers I have are from approximately 2006.  I purchased three of them, one for each of us, the kids and I.  From the Dollar Tree.  For $1 each. Quite a steal!

Then Matt and I moved in together, and now we had four stockings. And also one of our three hangers broke. I needed another option, but couldn't find any more Dollar Tree finds. And I wasn't about to put nails in my mantle. So I scotch-taped them. Which worked sort of, but they fell often, and once there was stuff in them, they were on the ground.

Once gain, Pinterest came to the rescue. This was my inspiration:
I found a $.57 wooden dowel rod at Walmart, painted it white, and strung all our stockings on it, including the ones for our pets. I propped it up using the two stocking hangers I had left.  Super inexpensive solution for our stocking-hanger-shortage situation!

I also put together these decorative jars, by filling them with extra ornaments and adding some bows (also from the Dollar Tree) to the front.
Yay for cheap Christmas decorations! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Young Mom, Old Mom.

Recently I stumbled across a blog all about being a young mom. Man, the internet would have been helpful when I was a teenager having my first baby! But we didn't have it at home yet, plus if we had, it took like 25 minutes to load a webpage so I doubt I'd have stuck it out for long enough to read blogs. Not to mention this blog means "young" as in early twenties, not teens. But I digress.

This got me thinking about my status as a young mom.  I had both of my children by the age of 19.  I'm 33 (as of yesterday) and if my oldest has a child at age 25, I'll be a grandma by the time I'm 43. Here's hoping it's not any sooner.

Most of my friends will have 4th graders or younger at that time. That time when I'm a GRANDMA.

My recent marriage to a younger man with no kids of his own has had a second round of motherhood on my mind. Not that he wants that, but he might at some point. Not that I necessarily want that either, because I haven't so far, but his family sure wouldn't hate having a grandchild in the family before it's  a teenager, which is all they've got as of now. I'm sure they would love a little baby to cuddle and dote on.

But the thing is, I've been a mom since before I could legally buy lottery tickets.  I can't even remember what life was like 16 years ago before another human's concerns were above my own.

If I had another child, it would potentially be 10 when I was also potentially becoming a grandmother. If I got pregnant within the next year, I'd be around 52 before he or she would be 18 and leaving for college.  Holy cow, that would be 34 solid years of my life spent parenting minors!!

When I see pregnant friends, or adorable little babies, I always think of how nice it would be to snuggle another one of my own, and what a great father my husband would be. But then I think of the situations I have encountered so far while parenting teens, and I'm like, No Thank You. And when I'm at social functions and one of my friends or siblings is wrangling their toddler that doesn't want to sit nicely or leave us alone to drink wine and have girl talk, I think, "thank goodness I don't have to deal with that. My kids just go text people when I want to have adult conversations."

So, I guess the point the point of this blog is: I love being a mom, even a very young one. And my kids have turned out great, relatively, so I must have done a decent job at it. And I love the fun parts of having a young child, like giving them new experiences, buying adorable little people clothes, and keeping track of all the cute, hilarious things they say.  But the idea of starting over and committing another 18 years to the diapers and babysitters and teaching them manners and good morals and stuff.... whew, I'm exhausted just thinking about it.  Unless my husband decides he wants a baby, and then I'll be allll over it, because aren't babies soo adorable??!!