Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Put a cork in it (and burn it!)

     Time for an easy project idea! All you need is a cork board (Ikea has some cheap options if you don't have a plain boring one already in your house) and a wood burning pen.  I have this pen and while the price is right (under $10) I hate it, it heats up at the handle making it uncomfortable to hold. You can either draw or print up a stencil or if you're more creative than me you can free hand something. Once you have things laid out the way you want you can use the wood burning pen to burn directly through the stencil and onto the cork. It takes about 3 seconds of  pressure to burn into the cork. Once I had gone through my entire stencil I removed it and went back to darken and fill in areas. This one is pretty simple and it only took me about 30 minutes. I can't wait to pick up more cork board and make something else!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Operation Gratitude: Halloween Candy Buy Back

     Did your kiddos get way too many Mounds or Banana Laffy Taffy? Did you just buy way too much candy for trick-or-treaters? Get rid of the extra by participating in Operation Gratitude's Halloween Candy Buy Back and have that candy sent to soldiers stationed around the world. Find a participating dentist near you and chose to either donate your extras or they'll buy it from you for $1 per pound.
I may have bought a little too much candy.


Flash Speedman's Chicken Suit

    Since my brain can not shake this writers block I figured I would share pics of Flash Speedman's chicken costume that I made for Halloween. Harper HATED wearing it but in all honesty it was so worth it, she was the cutest/funniest chicken baby ever! Credit has go to which had the basic directions. I wish had taken pics as I had made it but it was super easy, even I could do it with my very limited sewing skills!


Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween: Very last minute decoration ideas!

     Happy Halloween all! We only have a few more hours before the sun sets and we're invaded by tiny princesses, monsters, or in our case, a chicken. If you're just now running out to buy candy to appease the masses, here are a couple decoration ideas that require things you may have laying around your house already.
Find a glass jar in your recycling/trash and use painters tape to block out a face or design. Spray paint or hand paint on a few layers of paint till you have decent coverage.

The Handy Man Had the great suggestion to paint the inside back of the jar white so the light from the battery powered tea light would be more reflective. He constantly lives up to his name!

This would be super cute if you used a range of different size jars and used different colors.

Dress Up Your Pumpkins
It doesn't get any easier than this! If you have an cute fabric scraps laying around use them to decorate pumpkins! Lace works very well, looks great, and can add to the creepy Halloween vibe! I just tied strips of black lace on and tied a bow in the back.

Carve or Paint
It's not too late to carve a pumpkin! Last night was the first time in forever The Handy Man had carved a pumpkin. He was super nostalgic about it! 
If your little one isn't quite old enough to help carve a pumpkin or is scared of the gooey insides like Flash (not something she gets from mom or dad) bust out the finger paints and let them paint a pumpkin! Flash had fun painting pumpkins with her friend VJ this afternoon!
A squirrel took some chunks out of the middle pumpkins mouth :(

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"...or keep your snit to yourself."

     A friend of mine posted this on Facebook the other day and I had to share it here. Let me preface it by saying since it caused a bit of a stir when I re-posted in on Facebook, I'm not looking for argumentative drama. I'm not saying stay at home parents have it harder than working parents or visa versa. I'm not saying "boohoo, poor me". I just think it's interesting insight into what many people who have never been a stay at home parent think is an easy job. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's Friday. I need a bottle of wine and a priest.

     It's Friday morning and just like all Friday mornings recently I've woken up afraid. Afraid of what exactly?
Afraid of this ->   That folks, is the face of evil, at least on Friday's. It began a month ago when Flash Speedman started going to daycare every Thursday. Now Flash loves going to daycare. She gets so excited when we pull up and the second she gets to her class room I'm a distant memory. When I pick her up later that afternoon she is all giggles and smiles and an all around happy kiddo. 
     Then Friday morning arrives and my sweet little girl goes missing and is replaced by a kid I'm not all that fond of. She whines. She screams. And if I'm not paying attention to her every second and doing everything in my power to keep her entertained then she whines and screams at the same time at a super sonic pitch, it's not a human sound. Heaven forbid I have to tell her "no" or take something away from her.

     All I want on these Fridays is for it to be nap time so I can guzzle a bottle of wine and rock myself in the fetal position, but nap time never comes. It seems this evil that over takes my child needs no rest and thrives on sleepy grumpiness. 

     I can only come to one conclusion, on Fridays, Flash is possessed, it's the only logical explanation.  I'm not sure what one does for a possessed toddler. Should I call that priest from The Exorcist? All I know is if her head starts spinning 360* I'm gone. I'll be back tomorrow when my happy baby girl returns.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gangsta Wrap

Yarn wrapped wreath
     Okay, the title might be misleading. There is nothing even remotely gangster about this post, unless you happen to be a rapper interest in making a yarn wrapped wreath, in which case "Welcome!". I've been drooling over yarn wrapped wreaths for a while. They're one of those items that make me think "I could make that, why would I buy one?" So yesterday I finally did. It was the first real snow of the season and it seemed appropriate to be using yarn. Falling snow + yarn + chia tea + sweatpants = cozy indoor crafty happiness. 

     Making a yarn wrapped wreath is a fairly simple concept, I suggest you just jump in with both feet and figure it out as you go. Yarn is nice in that is is pretty forgiving if you goof up, hiding the mistakes isn't difficult. If you would like a little more instruction:

     1) Both toddlers and cats attempting to steal your yarn will slow this process down tremendously. I tossed one outside and gave the other to The Handy Man. Babies do just fine in the snow, right?

     2) I used a 14" straw wreath because it was on sale in-store for $1.29.  I left the plastic wrapping on to prevent the yarn from snagging. Next time I'm going to go with a styrofoam wreath form. The uneven texture of the straw wreath made it a little more challenging to get good coverage. 

    3)  Since you're wrapping around a curved object the interior curve is going to have less room than the exterior. Every other time around I overlapped the yarn at the interior section. I hope that makes sense.

    4) I was going to attach a beer can tab to the back as a hanger so I wouldn't have to worry about rust but that would have meant going into our freezing garage to rummage through the recycling bins. Instead I jammed part of a paperclip I found on the floor into the straw and continue to wrap the yarn, leaving part of the paperclip exposed. Once it was all wrapped (it took 45 minutes, ugh) there were some little slivers where the straw form was visible but that was remedied by just adding another loop or two of yarn over the area and knotting it on the back.
Paperclip hanger
     5) Time add a little decoration! I decided use the stencil from this Halloween project since it was still on my kitchen table and add a bat to my wreath. Around this time The Handy Man realized I wasn't making dinner, so he put a frozen pizza in the oven providing me the cardboard to make my bat form and saving me a trip into the garage. Sheesh, I really am lazy. I really was hoping to avoid using my glue gun but this is the point where I should have started. Instead I coated my cardboard bat in double-sided tape hoping this would keep the yarn from slipping off at the ends, it didn't, cue the glue gun. 
      6) I made "HAPPY HALLOWEEN" letters to wrap. The letters were the most time consuming part of the whole project. In order to not have any part of the shape exposed you first  need to wrap the letter vertically and then horizontally or visa versa depending on which look you prefer. This was when I started to wish this damn wreath was finished already and I failed to take pictures. 

    7) I attached the bat and letters with wire. Glueing them on would be easier but I wanted to be able to remove them if I want to used the same wrapped form for a different holiday. 
Attach decoration with wire or glue.

         The possibilities of what you can wrap in yarn are endless! As time consuming as this was I'm making a list of other things to wrap. Flash Speedman, the dog, my kitchen table, and The Handy Mans car all seem like fun ideas. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

When Bats Attack

     I thought I was going to get away without putting up any Halloween decorations with the exception of the pumpkins on the porch and a couple knick knacks I got 75% off at Jo Ann Fabrics last year but then I came across this bat template from Country Living and figured it was too easy to pass up. Country Living suggests using black felt but that would require spending money, so instead I used super pretty scrap booking paper that I had on hand. I think putting up a bunch more would look amazing but thats only going to happen if time permits!
Pardon the crummy pic. It's kind of late and my living room lighting needs improvement!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Apparently I'm a Creepster

Holy cow Flash, let's get out of here!
Me at the park.
Hey, at least I'm out
 of my sweatpants!
     The park that Flash Speedman and I usually go to is never busy, in fact more often than not we're the only people there. This seemed a little anti-social of us so yesterday we decided to venture out to a park that we had never been to before, it may have been Mistake #1. This park was busy, like insane children in every direction, wondering if the play structure was designed to hold that many 40 lb kids at one time, busy. It seemed like the majority of kids there were older, rough housing, screaming, hitting boys and Flash was obviously overwhelmed (honestly, so was I) so we hung back for a little while, taking in the mayhem from afar. 

     Luckily, I had brought along my camera hoping to get some cute fall pictures of Flash, so we started having a little photo session, Mistake #2. It's like every mom/grandmother/nanny radar in a 10 mile radius went off, "Stranger at OUR park with a camera! DANGER! DANGER! DANGER!" To the best of my knowledge I am not a threatening looking person. I can't imagine that I looked like some pervert, skulking around, trying to take pics of kids I don't know. I was just a mom taking pictures of my kid playing in leafs, to send to the Grandparents. 

    Finally, a large hoard of possibly psychotically deranged boys were rounded up for volleyball practice and we made our move to the playground. Flash instantly took of to exploring leaving me to take my mothers advise and "go meet other moms", Mistake #3. The other moms obviously had not yet forgotten that I was a possible child snatcher and suddenly I was the pimply faced new kid surrounded by the popular girls in a weird high school flashback. I was not to be associated with. Lesson learned, from here on out we will do nothing to call attention to ourselves, especially anything that might brand me as belonging on some sort of registry for felons.

Monday, October 24, 2011

5 Minute Chocolate & Peanut Butter Croissants

     I generally hate cooking and like to avoid being in the kitchen as much as possible but when I saw a picture on Pinterest of this beyond simple idea for a peanut butter & chocolate croissants I had to give it a try. All that is required is a can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and a king size package of Reese's. Cut the Reese's in half and roll each half in a Crescent Roll. Then bake according to the Crescent Roll directions. How freakin' simple is that?!
Cut the Reese's in half and roll each half in a Crescent Roll. 
Then bake according to the Crescent Roll directions. A little sprinkling of powdered sugar never hurts. How freakin' simple is that?! 
I've found that having product testers in the kitchen is great for feedback.

The Scarf: A perfect accessory for your sweats

Check out this super cute video: 25 Ways to Wear a Scarf

     I'm a big fan of scarves. Not only do they compliment my sweatpants beautifully but they also don't look too shabby when I actually do put on real clothes. Plus, it doesn't hurt that you can find really cute scarves for really cheap. Hello Forever 21's collection of scarves for under $10.00! The best thing about scarves? They can easily be used to hide that spit up/PB&J/miscellaneous funky substance that's somehow made its way onto your shirt. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

4:45 AM. It's not like I have anything better to do.

     Morning all! 

     Apparently sleep wasn't something my body felt I needed so I've been up all night messing around with the look of the blog. I'd love to hear feedback on the new design if you have any!

     Have a great weekend, I'll be back on Monday!

-Sweatpants Diva

Friday, October 21, 2011

Introducing Flash Speedman

Flash Speedman at her finest!
     Today feels like a good day to introduce the person that makes me qualified (however little) to write a blog about my experiences with motherhood, my baby girl, Flash Speedman. Flash will be 16 months next week and she is the reason for most of the joy and most of the stress in my life. You hear people with kids say "I never knew I could love somebody so much" and I always thought 'Yeah, sure. You know what I really love more than anything? My collection of LAMB sneakers." And then Flash came along and everything else went out the window (not literally, throwing my LAMBs out would be tragic).

     Now before someone feels the need to contact Child Protective Services, because generally only an unstable person would bestow such a name upon a child, Flash Speedman is only a moniker for the sake of this blog. While I was still in the early months of my pregnancy my aunt Ellen suggested we name our little fetus so we could stop referring to it as "it" in that pre-knowing-the-sex stage. I don't remember how Flash Speedman came to be that nickname, something tells me The Handy Man came up with it. Anyways, once we found out we were having a girl and after the painful process of choosing a real name, Flash sort of fell by the wayside, forgotten until last night when I realized it needed to make a come back. 

    Flash Speedman fits her perfectly now, she is constantly on the go! After months of insisting on holding our hands when she wanted to walk around she finally realized that we were slowing her down and has been walking on her own for about a month and staying still is not an option. She wants to be involved in everything that she shouldn't be and wants nothing to do with the thing's you'd like her to be. She likes rearranging all the furniture and emptying drawers and cabinets. She can spot an unbaby proofed area from a mile away and has a radar for trouble thats always spot on. And you know what? I love it. Just when I think I have managed to keep her away from something she figures out how to get it and I realize what  learning process it must have been for her and what a learning process it is for me.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What begins with an A?

Yep. Just about have the whole thing memorized. Just try me.

     I can't read. Well, technically I am fairly literate but I physically can not read a book cover to cover unless it's Dr. Suess's ABC book. 'Big A, little a, what begins with an A? Auntie Annies alligator. A...a...A.'

It's uncanny the similarities between Auntie Annie and and Baby Girls Granna Anna.

 Now don't get me wrong, I love reading to Baby Girl. She's just recently started to get into it and I love when she toddles over to hand me a book and awkwardly tries to figure out how to sit down in my lap. I don't mind that she only wants me to read the same three books to her over and over again, all. day. long. I do however miss reading a book for my own pure enjoyment. I even bought myself a Kindle for Christmas last year in the hopes that my new gadget would get me excited enough to read a book. How many books have I loaded onto my Kindle? Four! How many of those four have I completed? Zero! And it's not like I'm trying to fit in a few chapters of Ulysses or War and Peace before bed, I'm choosing easy reads. I think I got one chapter into Tina Fey's Bossypants, which I assumed would be a quick fun read, temporarily forgetting that nothing is quick or fun when a toddler is screaming at you to play peek-a-boo. I had almost entirely forgotten that I even had the Kindle until I stumbled upon it in our living room fire place. I don't even remember deciding the fireplace was the best place for me to keep it, thats how little I think about it. So, as a sign of respect to this abandoned device, I'm pledging to wipe the sticky goo from its beautiful screen (again, no recollection that my hands were covered in jelly the last time I touched or maybe licked it) and finish reading Bossypants before Baby Girls starts college.

'Big Z, little z, what begins with a Z? A Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz, as you can plainly see.'

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

DIY: CBCDNT (Do It Yourself: Can Be Completed Durning Nap Time)

Cardboard roll slices also make great cat toys. Everybody wins!
     I love crafty projects. I enjoy the process of making something and assuming it turns out the way I intended it to, I love being able to show off my handy work. Ever since Baby Girl came along I have a new appreciation for crafts that are cheap, quick, easy, and doesn't require me to make a special trip to the craft store.  I was really excited (it doesn't take much) when I came across this DYI project for Toilet Paper Roll Wall Art on one of my favorite websites, Design Sponge. This would be a great project to have your kids do although yesterday mine was licking finger paint off her hands so we've got a while before she attempts it. Everything it requires I either had in the house or had to rummage through our recycling bins to find. Scissors, check. White glue, check. And of course, toilet paper/paper towel rolls, check! It took me about twenty minutes cut, arrange all the pieces out, and then glue them all together. The result isn't half bad for something that took up very little of a Mommies Free To Do Whatever The Hell She Pleases and You Can't Stop Her Moment quiet moment to myself. I had a limited number of cardboard rolls laying around so I didn't quite achieve the size and shape that I wanted but I'll to save up some more and make it a little bigger and maybe paint it in the future.
     If any of you creative folk have a quick and easy DYI: CBCDNT you'd like to share, I love to hear about it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Crap. I'm one step away from a Snuggie.

     I have always loved lounging in a comfy, cozy, baggy pair of sweatpants. This has long been my standard uniform for vegging out at end of a long day, during which I was dressed like any respectable adult. The problem is, now I have Mommy Sweatpants Syndrome or MMS. I wear sweats everyday, all day, 24/7, morning noon and night. I even try to dress them up when I wear them in public by donning expensive accessories, hoping this will somehow make them socially acceptable.  I think my poor husband is less than thrilled that I've contracted MSS.
Examples of celebrity moms with MSS, one of those Teen Moms (they all blend together in my mind) and Britney Spears. You can tell Britney has a bad case by her lack of a bra in public.
      The excessive sweatpants wearing began when I was pregnant. After seeing too many moms I knew fall victim to MSS I went into my pregnancy announcing "I will never be one of those pregnant women who give up trying to look like a civilized humans. I'm going to make all you other mommies-to-be wish you looked this good!" I mean if Victoria Beckham, who is WAY OLDER than me, can look that good incubating her offspring, why can't I?
Eat your heart out Victoria!                               
I tried, I really did. After keeping my regular pants on using the hair rubber band trick stopped working, around the five month mark, I shopped at all the trendy preggers stores and boutiques. I watched Entertainment Tonight and read the trashy mags to see what the power moms of Hollywood wore when they were expecting. I bought clothes from Hiedi Klums maternity line. I bought a pair of designer maternity jean that cost more than any pair of jeans I had ever bought. The sales lady told me after my pregnancy I could have the ever so sexy elastic waist band replaced with a regular one and keep wearing them, SOLD! How can I lose? "I'm going to be the cutest pregnant chick ever!" Then I gained over fifty pounds on an already not-so-slim bod. Alright, slight set back, I didn't foresee having a forty pound baby or ever wanting to eat that much ice cream, but I can still be adorable! It turns out not all dreams are meant to come true. Once I stopped being able to squeeze my swollen feet into flip flops, I gave my designer maternity jeans the bird and slipped into my trusty sweatpants. There would be time to achieve fashion greatness after my daughter was born, I was so naive. Baby Girl came along and it turned out she was not forty pounds, not even close. So while I learned how to be a mom to a newborn and strategized on how I was going to get rid of the excess me that had been created by Ben & Jerry's and my c-sec, I fell back on my trusty sweatpants.

     Now we're almost sixteen months out from when my daughter came along and I'm back to fitting into most of my old clothes. In fact, I weight less now than I did around the time I got pregnant. Baby Girl is getting to be pretty independent at times, allowing me the occasional free moment in which I could do my hair and makeup and put on real grown up clothes but I rarely do and I've run out of excuses for why I don't. Granted, being a stay at home mom takes away most of the motivating factors to seek treatment for my Mommy Sweatpants Syndrome. I don't exactly feel the need to dress to impress when the only people around to impress are usually covered in a thin film of peanut butter and snot or dresses in grease covered work clothes, but perhaps I need that take a stand against my MSS, to make me feel better about myself. So that the neighbors stop saying I "must be artsy", by which I assume they mean "you damn dirty hippie!" So I can stand tall (presumably I'll be wearing heels) and proclaim "I can be fashionable and a mom! I can be what I've always dreamt of!" For now the dream will have to wait, I have to fold a giant load of laundry, it's made up mostly of sweatpants.