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Quick to Judge

Critics are everywhere.  I think having a judgmental bone in your body is almost natural.  That’s what we do.  That’s what society has taught us.  You judge first and learn later.  Is this right?  No, not at all.

I’ll be the first to admit that I judge people after first meeting them, heck even after first seeing them.  This isn’t always in a negative way.  Sometimes people “look” nice and this in itself is a judgement.  To judge is to form an opinion or conclusion about something or someone.  Sometimes it is negative though and this is when it’s the most hurtful.

I’ve been following the story of the mother who lost track of her 4 year old son at the zoo.  The little boy fell into a gorilla enclosure.  I’m sure most of you have heard about this fiasco as well.  My initial reaction to hearing about this was, “how the hell does a mother let this happen?”  I mean, I always have my eyes on Andrew.  I don’t trust anyone and half the time I don’t trust myself to lose sight of him.  So how did this child fall into a damn gorilla exhibit at the zoo when his mother was supposed to be watching him?

Is there something wrong with this picture?  Absolutely!  Why wasn’t I first concerned about the little boy?  Why didn’t I think to myself, “that poor mother!”  Why did I automatically assume that the mother is a bad mother because she let this happen.  She let it happen.

Man.  Is this what the world is coming to?  Have we completely lost all compassion and sensitivity for one another?  Have we lost remorse and dare I say it, love?

Let me tell you about my recent experience with my son.  Granted, this is a little different because I’m basically comparing a 19 month old to a 4 year old, and these two ages have very different developmental progressions but nonetheless they’re still children who wander.  Okay here goes:  The last two weeks or so my own son thinks it’s funny to run away from me.  He knows he isn’t supposed to do this but he doesn’t REALLY know.  He doesn’t understand why he shouldn’t run away from me.  He thinks it’s a game.  It doesn’t matter how many times I tell him no and how mad I get, he still thinks it’s fun.  The kid will literally run into the street if I set him down on the sidewalk.  He laughs and he’s fast.  He’s 19 months old but the kid is quick!  As soon as I set him down at the park he takes off.  The first time this happened it scared me.  Since then, I don’t set him down near a street.  That’s when common sense kicks in.  However, I do still let him run around at the park.  I know to watch him extra closely because I know he runs away from me but what about the “what if” scenarios.  What if I set him down and somehow get distracted for just a few seconds.  So much can happen in just a few seconds!  I try not to let this happen.  I try to focus all of my attention on him at all times, but you know what?  We’re human!  We make mistakes, and if you honestly say you haven’t taken your eyes off of your kid for a few seconds then frankly, you’re a liar.

Ok, yes a 4 year old should know right from wrong better than a 19 month old.  Yes the 4 year old should listen to his or her parents better than a 19 month old listens.  Yes parents should always keep a close eye on their kids at any age but especially when they are young, and yes 4 years old is young.  But do we really know what happened?  Do we really know how we would react to a devastating situation?  No.  We don’t know.  We won’t know until we are put in that same situation, God forbid.

Maybe this poor mother got distracted for just a few seconds and lost sight of her child.  Maybe her son was throwing a temper tantrum and ran away from her.  Maybe she walked away from him for two seconds to try and grab his balloon that he accidentally let go of.  OR, maybe she was on her phone and totally not paying attention to him.  Maybe she really is a shitty mother who wasn’t watching him and that’s why he fell into the gorilla exhibit.

My point is, we don’t know! Most of us weren’t there when all of this happened and even the people who were there probably weren’t paying attention to some random family walking around until the kid fell.  Maybe she’s a crappy mother, but maybe she isn’t.  Maybe she’s a fantastic mother.  I don’t know, neither do you, unless you know her personally.  What I do know is that if something tragic like this ever happened to me, and of course I hope it doesn’t and I’ll do my best to make sure it doesn’t, but if it does, I would reallllyyyy hope to be treated differently than this woman has been treated.  I would hope that people wouldn’t just assume the worst about me.  Tragedy occurs daily.  Kids get hit by cars all the time.  Kids run away from their parents all the time.  This is all the same.  Different locations but same type of thing.  People never think that things like this would ever happen to them, but things like this do happen.  Accidents happen.

I have no idea what kind of mother this woman is and I’m trying not to make any further judgements on this situation.  I just hope that people start feeling a little more empathy and little less judgment.  I’m going to try harder and I hope you do, too.

Note:  This post is simply about the effects of judgement.  In no way does it refer to the killing of the gorilla.

Talk to you soon

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Toddler snacks

I don’t know why I always struggle with feeding my kid.  I just worry so much that he’s not getting all the nutrients he needs, even though he really is.  I also worry that if I don’t start him out eating healthy now, he won’t understand how important it is in the future.  We’re doing fine right now but sometimes we need to change things up a bit.

Meals are pretty typical.  Breakfast is usually one of two things:  scrambled eggs with spinach or oatmeal.  I doctor up his oatmeal though, which I think I’ve mentioned before.  I add a touch of honey, a scoop of almond butter, a fruit squeeze pouch and a little milk.  I make a pretty big bowl and split it in half so he has breakfast for two days in a row.  Lunch can vary but we usually do deli chicken lunchmeat, a string cheese, some guacamole and some olives…that’s pretty normal for us.  Dinner is always a win with pasta, especially pesto pasta.  Pasta isn’t the healthiest dinner but that’s okay, I want to keep him full.  Snacks is where we get in a bind.  Smoothies are a big hit and raisins are great.  He loves his goldfish and pretzels, too!  I’m not a huge fan of pretzels mainly because of the enormous amount of salt so I’ve been looking for something else as a substitute.

This morning A and I went to the grocery store.  I like to go in the morning because it’s so quiet.  While I was showing him what a tomato looks like and letting him feel the avocados, a bright yellow package caught my eye.  What was it you ask?  It was a Larabar!  I’ve heard of these before but they’re kinda pricey so I’ve never given into buying one.  Today I did; I bought one.  After reading the label and realizing they’re made with raw, all natural ingredients, I gave in.  I tried the lemon bar and I just have to tell you, it was so freakin’ good! I let Andrew try it and he loved it!  One problem with these is that there are chunks of nuts throughout the bar so I had to be careful with that.  It’s pretty simple to just pick out the nuts though.  I’m so happy that I found a healthy (and easy!) snack for him.  I’m excited to try the other flavors, too.

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I feel like this is an ad for Larabars, and I guess it kind of is.  I just wanted to share how much I loved it and how happy I am to find something easy that I feel good about feeding my child.

Side note:  my reason for going to the grocery store this morning was to get the ingredients to make my Mexican Caviar, which I planned on eating for lunch today.  I got home and realized I forgot the main ingredient….great.  Good thing I had my Larabar snack! Hehe!

Happy snacking!

Talk to you soon

 

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Make your own apron!

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First off, I really do have to warn you all about my awful instructions for this post, because well, there really are none.  Sorry…I decided to write it anyway…

My best friend’s bridal shower was yesterday and I really wanted to give her something special, besides lingerie of course (hehe).  I was given a handmade apron for one of my bridal showers and I really loved it.  It’s traditional and homey.  Since I’m loving my sewing machine these days, I thought making an apron for her would be a perfect gift especially because she and her guy just bought a house a month and a half ago.

I looked up some apron sewing tutorials online but most of them were way too complicated for me.  I tried buying a pattern from Joanns but that was even more complicated.  Apparently patterns are super easy to follow, according to my mother, but looking at that fragile thing gave me anxiety.  I threw it out.  So what did I do?  Ha!  I remembered I made a really simple apron in 4H when I was like 11 years old, it was part of the one and only sewing class I took.  I dug it out of my kitchen drawer and decided I could just use that as a guide (just realized that I’ve had a rainbow apron for 17 years now…wow).  I mean, couldn’t I just lay that apron on top of my material and cut around it, leaving enough room for the hem?  Sure!  Pockets are easy too!  And gosh, I could just sew on some wide ribbon for the straps right?  Right!

That’s seriously what I did…

I know, some of you reading this are probably outraged, man I hope my mom doesn’t read this.

So I went to Joanns, excited that I had my plan in place and positive it was going to work out.  I found some awesome wine themed fabric that I thought would be perfect for the pockets and matched it with a wine colored fabric for the main part of the apron.  I got some pretty black buttons to add (I wasn’t sure where I would add them but knew I wanted them on that apron), and I threw in some nice black ribbon for the straps.  When I got it all home I ironed the fabrics and pulled out my cutting mat and rotary cutter.  I literally did what I mentioned above.  I laid down my wine colored fabric, placed my old apron on top and just sort of cut around it carefully, leaving about an inch of extra fabric on all sides.  I folded over each side of the apron twice, about a 1/2 inch each time (so using that extra 1 inch of material we left around the old apron), ironed it and pinned in place.  I sewed up the edges and voila, I had my main apron piece!  I made the pockets basically the same way, but folding over each side twice, ironing, pinning and sewing.  I then sewed them onto the apron where I thought they looked good.  Of course you only sew the bottom and two sides though, leaving the top open…you know, because it’s a pocket. 🙂  I sewed on the ribbon to each side of the top piece of the apron and trimmed it afterwards.  I also decided to make the belt strap into an actual belt looking piece so I sewed an entire piece of ribbon around the waist of the apron and left excess for the ties.  I placed the buttons where the top ties met the apron and sewed them on.  And there ya have it.  I know, this post is seriously not helpful to anyone looking to make an apron and I don’t suggest using my idea as a guide, but it actually worked out and I’m honestly surprised at how cute it turned out!  Haha!  I say this a lot in my posts and I’m positive I’ll continue saying it, it’s far from perfect!  Pictures below…

Here is the hem on the sides of the apron, after folding twice and sewing:

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The buttons on the top:

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The finished product:

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And me modeling my work:

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I hope that wasn’t TOOOO awful…

Talk to you soon

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No more gold fireplace!

I’ve always hated the ugly, outdated gold on our fireplace.  I’ve never really known how to fix it though.  I started researching online and found out that they make a high heat paint for BBQ’s and such.  I also found a few different websites showing a “how to” on getting rid of the gold on fireplaces by using this same high heat paint.  I was so excited!  An easy, inexpensive fix!

This morning the hubby and I went to Home Depot specifically to buy this paint.  Unfortunately we had to buy a whole can ($15 per can), but that’s still a pretty cheap fix.  You can buy a spray paint form but I didn’t know if or how I could take the gold pieces off of the fireplace and I certainly wasn’t going to spray paint inside our living room.  Here it is, Rust-Oleum High Heat paint in black:

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I also bought some blue painter’s tape but when we got home, I decided I didn’t really need to tape around the gold.  I thought I could easily paint a straight line and be okay, which turned out to be true (phew!).  I laid down a few towels just in case anything dripped and started the process, while Andrew was taking a nap of course.  I used a foam brush and only needed to do 2 coats to cover the gold.  The paint itself was sort of runny, runnier than all other paints I’ve used before but it covered the gold pretty well even with only 1 coat.  It’s also extremely sticky!  I tried washing out the brushes after I was done painting and that was a big mistake!  Do not do this!  Just throw out the brushes when you’re done!  My hands were black and it took me about a half an hour to get the paint off, AND I only got it off by using my fingernails to scrape it off of my skin…ugh!

Okay, enough is enough, here are some before pictures of the ugly ugly gold:

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Yuck!

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And here is the finished product:

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Yay!

Also, a side-by-side:

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I love it!  It looks so much better!  For $15, I’d say it’s money well spent and a job well done!

Talk to you soon

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It’s raining and I have a toddler. What do I do?

It’s raining and you have a toddler.  You can’t go for a walk or play at the park so you’re limited in your options of “fun” stuff to do.  So what do you do?  Where can you go?

Options:

1.)  Well for one you could play in the rain!  Don’t you remember this when you were a kid?  It’s a different world now yes, but I used to play in the dang ditch when I was a kid.  Go jump in the puddles and even play in the mud.  You can always strip at the front door and do some laundry – you’re making memories here!

2.)  Visit your local library.  I took A to the library a couple of weeks ago and it was so fun!  They had a little kid’s area and although he wanted nothing to do with reading, we still played with some legos and interacted with other children.  We spent an hour and a half there.

3.)  Hit up a children’s museum.  I know this might not be possible for some people if you don’t have a children’s museum in your area but we do.  You could spend half a day there!  Or visit any kind of museum!

4.)  Walk around the mall.  This might sound weird, and may be dangerous to your wallet but it could be fun.  My little one loves to just watch people.  He’s so intrigued by other people.  Grab Starbucks and get some exercise in while your kid “people watches”.  You could even visit one of those little photo booths in the mall and take home a “present” for daddy :).

5.)  Visit a pet store.  Another weird idea but kids just love animals.  Go to a pet store, walk around and look at the animals.  You don’t have to buy a pet just because you’re there.  Be strong…don’t give in…you do NOT need a hamster.

6.)  Go to a gym or YMCA or something of that nature.  In my area there is a great gym for little kids with a ton of fun activities specifically for different age groups.  So fun!

7.)  Toy stores!  This might be a disaster when leaving the store as your little one will want to take everything home but it could be fun to see new toys, maybe even play with some.

8.)  Indoor play area.  Okay, I am not a fan of McDonald’s, I’m just not.  But you could go grab an ice cream cone and play in their kid’s area.  It’s a special treat and although your child may need a bath after, it’s something new and different to do.

9.)  Ikea.  I have not taken A here but I’ve heard that it’s actually quite fun taking a toddler to Ikea.  They have a play area but they also have a ton of cool stuff.

10.)  Lastly, you could just play inside.  I’m serious.  Just play inside with toys.  I know we’re adults and that can get old, especially when toddlers require so much attention 24/7 but do it for them.  You can keep them entertained if you interact.  Ideas:  cardboard boxes, crayons, paint, forts out of sheets, balloon soccer, etc.  Use Google and/or Pinterest for ideas.  I truly believe you can find something fun in your house right now and keep your child entertained for a good part of the day.  You just have to be creative!

Talk to you soon

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DIY Mantle….or shelf

I love Fall.  I love the colors of the leaves and the cooler weather.  I’m normally a sunshine girl but when the weather turns in November and I feel the wind start to blow, I get excited.  I get to wear my boots and scarves, and sip hot tea on the weekends.  I look forward to family time at Thanksgiving and then of course, Christmas!!  Oh how we all love Christmas!  There’s something about those tiny twinkling lights and snuggling on the couch with a warm blanket watching a cheesy Christmas movie.  Awhhh, I can’t wait.

And then one day you’re walking around the house in your super soft fuzzy socks, you stop to look at your cute little fireplace and you realize you will be hanging your Christmas stockings above that fireplace with red and green thumbtacks.  And depression sets in.

This is not happening, not this year!  I want a mantle.  I want that Santa and Snowman and Reindeer stocking to hang from cute little stocking hooks in front of that fireplace.  So what happens when I want something?  I find a way to get it.

Don’t take that last sentence as me being some spoiled brat.  I’m a bargain shopper and a DIY’er.  I find ways to save a penny because that’s how I was raised.  You work hard for what you want.  Simple as that.  And when you can’t find what you want, you make it.

So anyway, I knew I couldn’t afford an actual mantle.  Did you know you can actually buy those?  Like, actually buy something already made to put around your little fireplace and it looks so grand and awesome.  How cool!  I always thought they were custom built.  But anyway, they’re like hundreds of dollars, so no thanks.  I found that the easiest and cheapest way I could solve my problem was to just make a, well, basically a shelf.  And that’s what I did.  It’s not at all perfect but it does the job and I’m happy.

First, I went to Lowes.  Well, hubby, Andrew and I went to Lowes.  We bought a $17 pine board and had a Lowes employee cut it to size.  I needed it to be 63″ by 9 1/2″.  I already had white spray paint at home from when I repainted all of our bedroom furniture.  I thought I had screws, but it turns out I didn’t, so the hubs had to go back to Lowes the next day for me.  Thanks hunny!  I bought some $16 shelf brackets off of Amazon and I was good to go.

On Saturday I started in.  The wood was already cut for me so all I really had to do was sand it a little, paint it and attach the brackets.  The board took 3 coats of white spray paint and I let it dry overnight.

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The brackets were surprisingly hard to attach, mainly because the screws I started out with were too long so I drilled them in at an angle (because I was too impatient to run back to Lowes myself and get the correct screws).  Once Kyle ran out to get me the screws, things went a lot smoother.  Again, thank you!

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So that’s really it!  I sanded it, painted it, attached the brackets and Kyle helped me hang it over the fireplace.

Here’s what things looked like before we hung the “mantle”.

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Here’s what it looked like after (don’t mind the diaper genie and other goodies- hehe).

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And here it is all decorated to my liking and just waiting for those stockings!  I won’t decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, it’s a rule of mine.  All in all, including the $5 box of screws, total cost was $38.  I wrote that down on my budget sheet for the month (yes we are each on a strict budget this month trying to save money).

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Yay!  Although it’s just a tad bit crooked, it still looks pretty good.  And Instagram makes everything look better!

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Talk to you soon

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The Perfect Boiled Egg

Remember my deviled egg tray from Andrew’s first birthday party that my brother dove into before I took my picture?

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Yep, there it is!

Deviled eggs are sooooo easy to make, and they’re a perfect snack or party food.  I’ll tell you how to boil the perfect egg in this post.  It’s so easy!

The Perfect Boiled Egg

*Place eggs in a pot and cover them with cold water.

*On the stove, bring water to a boil over high heat, uncovered.

*As soon as the water starts to boil (a rolling boil, not just a few bubbles here and there), turn off the burner and cover the pot with a lid.

*Let the pot sit, covered, burner off, for exactly 11 minutes.

*After 11 minutes, drain water and place eggs in a cold water bath until cooled (this stops them from cooking).  You may opt to place eggs in a colander and run cold water over them until cooled, either way is fine.

That’s the perfect boiled egg!  Note:  A perfect boiled egg means the yolk is cooked through but does not have any gray coloring between the yolk and the white of the egg.  If you see gray, you have overcooked the egg.

To make deviled eggs, peel the cooled boiled egg, cut egg in half, scoop out the yolk into a bowl and add mayo, mustard, salt and pepper to the yolk.  Mix those ingredients until your desired taste and spoon filling back into egg.  I sprinkle mine with a little paprika.  Voila!  Enjoy!

Talk to you soon