Month: June 2010

Make Your Own Wind Twirlers

Here’s a fun and easy craft you can easily give a July 4th twist: Wind Twirlers! They’re an entertaining and colorful addition to your yard. Hang them on the porch, from a tree, anywhere the wind blows! The kids will enjoy making them and watching them go. Here’s what you’ll need to get started.

Wind Twirlers Supplies

Supplies:

  • Plastic lids
  • Scissors
  • String
  • Nail
  • Marker
  • Art supplies (Optional)

Directions:

  1. Remove the lip of the plastic lid with scissors so you have a flat, round piece of plastic.
  2. Wind Twirlers 1

  3. Use the nail to punch a hole in the center of the lid.
  4. Wind Twirlers 2

  5. Optional: Decorate the lids. We had three white plastic lids, so we painted one blue and one red (and left one alone) to add some patriotic flair. If you have colored lids, you could easily skip this step.
  6. Wind Twirlers 3

  7. Use the marker to draw a spiral that starts near the hole in the center of lid and gradually extends outward to the rim. The thicker your spiral, the shorter your wind twirler will be.
  8. Wind Twirlers 4

  9. Cut along the spiral line
  10. Wind Twirlers 5

  11. Thread a piece of string through the whole in the center and knot it on the underside.
  12. Wind Twirlers 6

  13. Hang it and watch it spin!
  14. Wind Twirlers 7

A few tips:

  • The age of your child will determine the amount of the drawing and cutting you’ll need to do. My two-year-old painted her lid and I did the rest. My six-year-old was able to complete all the steps with supervision.
  • You can use different size lids and cut spirals of varying thicknesses to create wind twirlers of assorted shapes and sizes. The lids we used were approximately 4.5 inches in diameter.
  • Don’t have any plastic lids? Try paper plates instead.

Originally written for and posted on the now-defunct My OH! Momma website.

The Simple Things

playing in the dirt

They have a playset,
a Barbie Jeep, countless toys…
they prefer the dirt.

Every Time I Promise Myself I’ll Quit Complaining On My Blog, I Have The Uncontrollable Urge To Complain. In Other Words, Here Comes Some Bitching.

People often say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I agree with that sometimes, but sometimes not. For instance, if the not nice something you have to say is something you wish to say to me and the choice is not speaking to me or speaking to me and airing your not nice feelings, I say, share that not nice thing. I’d rather know what’s stuck up your butt than be ignored. Unless I already dislike you. But in that case, I won’t care what you say anyway. See? Win-Win!

There are times when saying nothing is the wrong choice. Sometimes you have to say something not nice to solve something. And sometimes, I screw things up and I didn’t even mean to. In fact, there are few things in life I’ve intentionally screwed up. I usually try pretty hard NOT to screw up.

And while we’re talking about screwups, you should know that I’m pissed at Norton.

I’ve been using Norton Antivirus, Internet Security, Anti-Spyware – you know, the whole gamut of services – pretty much since I’ve been on-line. The ONE TIME I went ahead and tried a McAfee free trial, I got a virus that took my laptop out. Never with Norton. It’s safe to say, I think Norton is a good product. But, dude, Norton. Your customer service is not so great.

The last time I renewed my Norton subscription, I was strong-armed into signing up for the auto-renewal, which is fine, I guess. I was sold on Norton. I was a customer for life. Auto-renewal is A-Okay with me. I don’t want my coverage on my computer to lapse. Of course, I’m not so great at remembering things and I didn’t write down the auto-renewal date, so when that big chunk of change slipped out of my bank account, I was like, “Wow. That sucked.” Still, I had signed up for it. A reminder from Norton would have been nice. I hadn’t planned for that money to be gone just then, but everything was cool. I adjusted and said to myself, “Well, at least my computer is safe.” Because if my computer went down, I’d be in a world of hurt. If you hadn’t noticed, any of the small change I bring into our household pretty much comes from what I do on my computer and sometimes small change makes the difference between paying bills and not paying bills.

So, it turns out that my computer wasn’t covered. You see, Norton wanted me to click to verify my new subscription, somehow. So, my Antivirus, Internet Security, Anti-Spyware – you know, EVERYTHING – was not turned on. It didn’t seem to matter that I had paid for it. I had to click to verify it, which is funny because paying the money for the service seemed like enough verification to me, especially when it was paid before the original subscription even expired! But it gets worse. When my dumb butt finally clicked to verify – too late because I realized my Norton wasn’t on until AFTER I GOT A VIRUS – those days my Norton wasn’t activated were still deducted from my subscription time.

NOT COOL, DUDES. NOT COOL.

So, my good laptop, the one with all my favorite settings and images and important information is out sick right now. I’ve tried to fix it, but it’s going to be a long job and when will I find the time to throw a day away fixing it? The computer won’t stay on for more than five minutes. I’m working on my old cracktop, which, Thank God for the cracktop, but here’s a secret: it doesn’t work so great. And that makes me feel stabby.

But, oh, that feels better!

See how easy it is to share your not nice feelings? Go ahead and share’em if you’ve got’em in the comments. The complaint department is open. Get something off your chest.

You Say It’s Your Birthday. It’s My Birthday, Too. Yeah!

My birthday was yesterday. Julia’s is tomorrow-no, it’s today. Okay, it’s after midnight which technically means it’s her birthday right now and my birthday was two days ago, but I haven’t gone to bed yet, so to ME, it’s still yesterday. The thing is, I’m about to go blow up about thirty helium balloons that I will tie in bunches to random stuffed animals and distribute in my daughter’s bedroom so when she wakes up in the morning she’ll feel very Happy Birthday-y.

This is just one reason having kids is so great. My birthday? Kind of no big deal. Grown-up birthdays just aren’t as fun. But when you have kids, you get to have big deal birthdays all over again. Because for kids? EVERY BIRTHDAY IS A BIG DEAL. Waking up to a room full of balloons? BIG DEAL. If you did that for a grown-up, they’d be like, “That’s cute and all, but what do I do with them now, Big Waster?” But I guarantee my kids will play with those things all freaking day. Probably to the point of extreme annoyance and irritation. It’ll be worth it, though, to make her feel special. Because I feel special on her birthday. It’s sort of my birthday, too.

Six years ago today, Julia was born. And so was a mother.

Julia and Mommy

Homemade Ice Cream, Easy as 1-2-3

There’s nothing like ice cream on a hot summer day. But did you know you can make your own with just three ingredients in three easy steps? We made this at playgroup last summer and I’m still not sure what the kids liked better – making it or eating it! Here’s what you’ll need.

Homdemade Ice Cream Supplies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Half & Half
  • 3 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Place the above ingredients in a quart-size plastic food bag.
  2. Homdemade Ice Cream 1

  3. Place the sealed bag in a gallon-size plastic food storage bag and layer with ice and rock salt.
  4. Homdemade Ice Cream 2

  5. Shake for approximately ten minutes and enjoy!
  6. Homdemade Ice Cream 3

*Yields about two scoops of ice cream.

A few tips:

  • You may want to take Step 3 outdoors. Rock salt is pokey and plastic food storage bags don’t like it. Last time my kids and I made this in the kitchen, my counter was covered with a salty film when we were done thanks to a little leak. Save yourself the mess and get shakey outside.
  • Ten minutes is a really long time when you’re shaking up ice cream. Especially if you’re hungry. Or 4 years old. The kids may start step three, but you will probably finish it. Don’t worry, though. They’ll still be there when you’re ready to serve it. It’s ice cream, after all.

Homdemade Ice Cream 4

Originally written for and posted on the now-defunct My OH! Momma website.

Today’s baby doctor appointment went something like this:

Doctor: “You’ve gained 25 pounds.”

Me: “Since my last visit?”

Doctor: “No, over the course of your pregnancy.”

Me: (thinking) “Well, it seemed plausible. I feel like I’ve gained 25 pounds in four weeks. I look like it, too.”

Doctor: “If you continue to gain at your current rate, you can expect a 40 pound total weight gain for this pregnancy.”

Me: (completing an addition problem in my head)

Doctor: “You realize you only need about 300 calories per day above what you’d normally eat.”

Me: “Yes. I’m cool with that.”

Doctor: “Alright.”

Me: (thinking) “I meant with the 40 pound weight gain.”

And later…

Me: (crying)

Doctor: “Let’s talk about prescribing you some anti-depressants.”

So, pretty much, the appointment ROCKED.

I declined the drug offer. I’m much more stable than I seem.

Really.

The doctor looked at me the same way you’re looking at me right now. (Did you know I can see you through the screen? Heeelllooo! Now, go put a bra on.)

I’m Just a Little Black Rain Cloud

I get a little bummed out every time I see Sam as The Yellow Wiggle. It just doesn’t feel right. Greg is The Yellow Wiggle. Greg. Forever and always, in my heart. Sam just reminds me that Julia isn’t three anymore and Wiggles come and go, like so many other things in life. Then I start singing “Cat’s in the Cradle” and that song is nothing but a guilt vehicle, isn’t it?

“Teach Your Children Well” is much better. Even “Time in a Bottle” would do. At least those songs don’t make me feel like I need Xanax.

I’m outlawing “Cat’s in the Cradle.”

You see, I’ve been dreaming that Dave is dead or dying. Three nights ago, I was having him cremated and at the last minute decided I wanted to keep his wedding ring, but it was too late, he was gone. Last night, he had two weeks to live.

Dave is scared of me right now.

The irony is, during waking hours, I’m worried that I’m the one that will die – that I’m going to start bleeding when I have Phoebe and I’ll never see her or know her and all my girls will grow up without me.

Nothing in this world frightens me more than that.

My Favorite Kind of Days

Julia with flowers Lucy with flowers

Sidewalk chalk

Home

nowhere to go and
nowhere to be, except home
and all together

A Story That Illustrates Exactly What I Mean When I Say, “Julia made me a mom, Lucy made me a parent.”

Peek a boo Lucy I think there’s a law, we’ll just call it “Leslie’s Law of Parenting” that states: “Anything you can do wrong will happen in public.”

A week or two ago, I was squeezing a quick run to the grocery store in before I had to pick Julia up from school. When we came out of the store, Lucy refused to be loaded into her car seat. And by refused to be loaded, I mean she kicked and screamed and hit me in the face. So, I bribed her with a cupcake. And it worked! But recently, Lucy has discovered the amazing and destructive power of her hands. She can obliterate anything with an initial squeeze of death followed by furious finger tickles of annihilation. My feet have often encountered the shattered remains of a graham cracker or a banana or – forgive us, universe – a doughnut. But she was pleased to simply eat her cupcake and we made it to the school on time.

As I unbuckled her restraints to walk over and retrieve Julia, I considered taking the cupcake from her. But my fat lip was a throbbing reminder of why I didn’t want to do that. So, I let her carry her cupcake to the pick up area.

THIS WAS THE WRONG THING TO DO.

As the pick up mob reached it’s maximum capacity, right in the anxious moment between the bell ring and the appearance of the children out the door, Lucy demolished her cupcake. The Hostess kind. WITH FILLING INSIDE. There I stood, helpless with my chocolate-cupcake-crumb-faced kid and her gooey-filling hands, which she showed to everyone with a “Rooooarrrrr!” as Kindergarteners and First Graders ran through the debris field at my feet.

Someone pointed me toward the restroom. I could hear the shouts of, “What’s that?!?!” and “Ew, gross!’ and “She did it,” as I marched my growling mess-maker into the school. When we returned, the mess remained on the ground. Everyone was looking at us. I pointed it out to Julia and told her, “Look at what Lucy did.” And we proceeded to the car to grab my stash of napkins to clean it up. But when we got back to clean it up, only one adult was there. Only ONE PERSON saw me clean it up. So, not only was I the mom who bribed her two-year-old with a cupcake, I also looked like the rude mom who made the mess and walked away. And it’s been eating at my soul. I’ve had to restrain myself from shouting, “I cleaned it up! I cleaned it up!” every day at school pick up since.

But now, school is over. Hopefully summer will erase the memory of our mess from the minds of the masses. I can now focus my worry on the T-ball field where recently Lucy had an accidental collision with an older kid that resulted in a lollipop stick up the nose, after which I picked up my screaming, bleeding child to hear a woman chime in the from the sidelines with, “And that’s why I don’t let my kids run around with lollipops.”

Apparently This Ranks #3 on the List of Things to See…Next to London and France

You should never underestimate the importance of the condition of your underwear. You may fool yourself into thinking it doesn’t matter. You may tell youself, “I’m married and pregnant. The risk of a panty raid is nil. No one’s worried about my skivvies.” But you’d be wrong. And you’d know you were wrong when you find yourself cashing in that free prenatal massage you won at your Kindergartener’s Winter Carnvial and the massage therapist says, “Okay, so take everything off but your underwear.”

Sure, she said other things. She even left a sheet to cover me, but my brain froze on the word “underwear” because my underwear? They’re barely underwear at all. I’m all humongo pregnato, so the only underwear that fit me are the ones that have the elastic all stretched out and the ones that have the elastic all stretched out are old. They were once white. Now, they resemble parchment paper.

I know! Go ahead and think it. “Ew! Gross, Leslie.” But why buy underwear that you’ll only wear for a few months and you’ll likely ruin anyway because – spoiler alert coming here, childless friends – pregnancy is a condition in which you are 90% guaranteed to ruin your underwear at one point or another? Pregnancy is a beautiful, yet competely disgusting miracle of life that often leaves its mark in your britches.

So, I took everything off but my underwear and I fashioned a very complicated and tightly wrapped sort of diaper with the sheet she left in order to prevent her from possibly seeing my secret. Because you cannot help but judge someone with nasty underwear. Sure, we all have a pair, but no one in their right mind would ever admit it. Unless your massage therapist has seen them and you know it’s just a matter of time before the whole town knows the condition of your underwear so you figure you might as well tell the story from your own perspective anyway.

She returned and began my massage, which should have been an exquisite escape to a land of bliss, but instead was like a giant panic attack because at any moment my underwear could be revealed and then, I would die. She told me, “You’re very tense.” I just laughed. And laughed. I actually couldn’t stop laughing. Then I blamed it on all the computer work I’ve been doing and we started talking about my new website and then I discovered that she knows every person in the world that ever existed, which meant my underwear news could go worldwide.

So, I decided to distract her the only way I knew how: I talked. And talked. And I never stopped talking. I thought maybe she’d go blind from all the words hitting her in the face or something. Then she said, “Roll onto your side.” And suddenly, for the first time ever, I had nothing to say. I rolled onto my side and she moved from my neck and shoulders to my back. I stiffened. “Are you comfortable?” she asked.

“Oh yes, I’m comfortable,” I lied.

And then it happened. She went for the sheet. I felt the tug. I squeezed my legs together to hold the it in place and mentally screamed, “Ain’t no way you’re unwrapping this burrito!” But all she did was tuck a towel around the edge of the sheet, probably to protect it. And I’m pretty sure all she saw was waistband.

An eternity later, she said told me time was up. “Thirty minutes goes pretty fast, doesn’t it?” she asked.

I nodded as all the tension left my body and I felt complete and total relaxation.

“Do you feel relaxed?”

“Oh, yes!” And this time, I wasn’t lying.

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