DIY Glow In Dark Clock

I wanted a clock that would glow in the dark  so my kids could see it after they went to bed, but I didn’t want anything too fancy that would get knocked off of the wall by their boyish antics and break.  So, I made on myself.  I got a $3 clock and some glow-in-the-dark paint from Walmart.

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First, you take the screws out of the back of the clock that hold the front glass on the clock because you will need to access the clock hands.

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Then you paint (I used a Q-Tip) each hand with a generous amount of the paint.

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Once it’s dry you put it back together and hang it on the wall!

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I don’t want you thinking that this will glow all night, because it doesn’t.  But if you access it to enough light before the little ones go to bed, it glows long enough for them to see it until they fall asleep, and my kids think that is so cool!  So easy and so cheap!  Just my kind of project 🙂

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Posted in DIY

Broken Brain

I had a really good laugh today.

I was in the van with the kids, driving home after picking Lizzie up from school.  We were singing along with the “Tangled” soundtrack when Lizzie suddenly said “Mommy!  You have to turn off the music.  I have to tell you about something really bad that happened today.”

I turned off the music and listened intently to the words that Lizzie so anxiously wanted me to hear.

“Mommy, there was a police car on the wood chips today.”

“What?  Why was a police car on the wood chips?”

“Well, the monkey bars broke.”

“Really?”

“Yes, there was a 1st-grader who was so strong that he pulled so hard on the monkey bars that they broke.”

“Wow, that’s pretty crazy, Lou.  But why was the police car there?”

“Well, the boy broke his leg.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.  He fell really hard.  The teachers called the police and told them that there was a boy who broke his leg and they needed to come and take him to the hospital.”

“Lizzie, do you mean that there was an ambulance, or a police car at your school?”

“A police car.  I think.  Oh, and he broke his arm too.”

“Wow!  He broke his arm and his leg?  He must have fallen pretty hard.”

“Yeah, he was really high up there when the monkey bars broke.”

“You need to be careful on the monkey bars, Lizzie, so you don’t end up breaking your arm and leg too.”

“I am careful, Mommy.  Oh, and the boy had a bandage on his head too.”

“He scraped his head?”

“Yes…and he broke his brain.”

This is the point when I completely lost it.  Seriously.  I was trying to be sympathetic about this nameless boy who suffered mysterious injuries from falling off of broken monkey bars (whatever that means).  But when Lizzie told me that his brain had broken…I broke down and laughed and laughed and laughed some more.

How in the world would I survive without this crazy girl of mine?!

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And The Apologies Begin

Although I remember apologizing to my Mom a lot while growing up, I’m sure that I didn’t voice my apologies as much as I should have.

I remember times when I wasn’t as respectful towards her as I should have been.

I’m sure that I had my share of tantrums (including teenage know-it-all episodes).  In fact, I clearly remember telling my Mom that I knew everything that there was to know and that I wanted to move out of the house and live on my own.  I was only 14.  Ha!  It’s no wonder my parents busted out laughing when they heard me say that.  Their laughter only added to my frustration, however, and my feelings of anger (about who knows what) escalated.

Strong hormones are bound to accompany the teenage years and I’m not particularly looking forward to parenting during that phase.

Lizzie isn’t even close to entering her teenage years…and I swear that she is already a ball of hormones at times!  This frightens me immensely.  I can’t even imagine what she’ll be like eight years down the road!

Recently, Lizzie has exhibited a few pretty horrible tantrums.  I’m talking full-blown kicking and screaming tantrums.  It’s absolutely ridiculous.  She is five years old!

There have been a few nights over the last few weeks that I really didn’t feel like putting her to bed.  I just wanted to clean the kitchen and have the dishes over and done with as quickly as possible so that Jon and I could enjoy the evening together.  Lizzie had a huge fit when she learned that Daddy was going to put her to bed and not me.  Gigantic fit.  She began screaming “NO!!” at the top of her lungs and started pounding the table like a mad woman.  Seriously.  Is it really that bad when Daddy puts her to bed?!  He doesn’t serenade her with songs like I do (he merely sings a fast version of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”), but it shouldn’t matter.  Right?

For a few nights in a row, Jon has had to pick her up (while she is thrashing around and screaming), put her in her bed, leave the room and hold her bedroom door shut in an effort to prevent her from escaping.  It is seriously ridiculous and I can hardly believe that our five-year-old is behaving in such a manner.

Jon and I have decided to initiate the “Even/Odd” bedtime again.  Jon will put Lizzie to bed on the odd days and I’ll put her to bed on the even days.  We started that routine a few years ago but it faded out because Jon was often gone during bedtime and I just ended up putting her to bed on most days.

Around the same time as these bedtime tantrums, Lizzie had a major tantrum in the car on the way home from school.  Everything was fine as we walked to the car after school.  She told me that she was hungry.  I told her that she could have a snack (I had brought some crackers) when we arrived at the park.  There is a park next to our city Library that the kids really enjoy and I had mentioned to them that we could go there after school if the weather was nice, which it was.

Anyway, Lizzie persistently told me that she was starving and that she wanted the crackers “NOW!”.  I told her that she couldn’t have the crackers in the car because the crumbs would get everywhere and Daddy had just vacuumed the car.  She kept whining and begging for those crackers.  I finally warned her that if she didn’t stop whining about the crackers than we would not be going to the park.  She didn’t stop.  I told her that the park was out of the picture and that we were heading straight home.

By this time, I had already started driving.  She started screaming “NO!” again and again and again.  Seriously?  Where did my sweet little Lizzie disappear to?!  She slid down on her car seat until she was practically sitting on the floor of the van and her head was the only thing on her car seat.  I was forced to pull over the van.  After a bit of a struggle, I was able to buckle her safely back in her booster seat.

Needless to say, she spent a long time in her room when we returned home.

Later that afternoon, Lizzie approached me with the following simple note:

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Triumph!

I suppose she finally felt a little guilty for her behavior.

Irregardless of that apology note, something needs to change.  We need to eliminate these tantrums before they get worse!  I don’t want any of my children turning into that spoiled rotten girl from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (you know, the one that gets thrown into the garbage dump).

I have been trying to be more strict with her.  I have been trying to focus on and modify her minor behavioral problems before they get any worse.

Just this morning, Bryce told me that he wanted frozen waffles for breakfast and Lizzie informed me that she wanted frozen pancakes.  So I prepared their requests and then put their respective plates in front of them at the kitchen table.  Immediately, Lizzie pushed her plate away from her and demanded waffles.

No way.

Perhaps I was a bit hormonal this morning, but I lectured her like there was no tomorrow.  I told her about all of the starving kids all over the world (and even down the street from us) who would do anything to eat the kinds of food that she is blessed with.  I told her that she had absolutely no right to demand something else, particularly because I gave her exactly what she had originally asked for.

She told me that she wasn’t going to eat the pancakes.

I told her that she could go ahead and starve until lunch.

She told me that there is breakfast at school.

I told her that she needed money to buy breakfast at school and I wasn’t going to give her any.  She had a perfectly good breakfast right in front of her nose.

She pushed the pancakes further away from her.

I told her that she had a choice.  She could choose to eat the pancakes, or she could choose to not eat the pancakes.  If she didn’t eat the pancakes, she would be hungry at school and it would be completely her own fault.

She stared me down.

Then she slowly pulled her plate back and very, very, very slowly put the first bite into her mouth.

Funny, but I guess those pancakes tasted pretty darn good after all because she ended up gobbling them all up.

While she was eating, I am proud to say that she actually thanked me for breakfast a few times and also apologized and told me that she loved me.  She also told me that she loved me numerous times on the way to school.

The fact of the matter is that Lizzie is truly a good girl.  She really is.  She is simply attempting to discover various methods of manipulating her parents.

I’m just hoping that we can overcome this little hump successfully together…and that this isn’t simply a frightening foreshadow of her teenage years.

Mexican Hashbrown Casserole

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Like my sister, I’m a lover of enchiladas.  Ironically, I’m more obsessed with Mexican food than my husband (who is an actual Hispanic…go figure).  Although I could eat enchiladas (or beans and rice, quesadillas, nachos, fajitas, burritos, tacos, taquitos, or anything spicy) on a daily basis, I force myself to make other things because I love Jon so much. 😉

Anyway, even though Jon isn’t a big fan of enchiladas, he really likes this recipe! 🙂  Probably because it isn’t enchiladas…although, to me, it tastes just like them!  It really is an easy and very delicious dish.  I don’t think you’ll regret giving it a shot!

Mexican Hashbrown Casserole

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef (or turkey)

1 onion, diced

1 medium green pepper, chopped

1/2 jar of roasted red bell peppers, chopped (about 1/2 a cup)

1 (14 oz) can stewed tomatoes

1 (8 oz) can chopped green chilies

1 package taco seasoning

4 ounces of cream cheese

1 package frozen hashbrowns (I use the shredded variety, about 20 ounces)

2 cups shredded cheese (I use monterey jack, but you can use whatever you prefer)

Directions:

Place the hashbrowns in a bowl with half of the roasted bell pepper, half of the green pepper, half of the onion, and 1 cup of the cheese.  Add 1 tablespoon of the taco seasoning mix from the package.  Lightly mix everything together until combined.  Set aside.

Brown the ground beef (or turkey) together with the remaining onions and bell peppers.  Cook until the meat is cooked thoroughly and the vegetables are soft.  Reduce the heat to medium low and stir in the remaining taco seasoning, green chilies, and stewed tomatoes.  Finally, stir in the cream cheese.

Spray a 9 X 13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Spread half of the hashbrown mixture on the bottom of the pan, followed by half of the beef mixture, and half of the remaining cheese.  Repeat the layers once more.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Hope you like this dish as much as we do!!

Simple DIY Teepee

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The first word I typed in the title is very important in this project.  SIMPLE.  This Teepee was SO easy that anyone could do it in about 10 minutes.  I’m not kidding you.  I have been drooling over DIY teepees on Pinterest for a while now and trying to think of which way I could copy.  In the end, they all seemed like a little bit too much work.  So, while I was at Home Depot on another errand, I picked up the three things I would need to build this little fort.

1.  Canvas drop cloth ($10: 5’9″ x 8’9″)

2.  Clothesline rope (pretty sturdy, but not the thickest)

3.  5 pieces of 7′ long wood (I just went and picked out some posts, don’t know what kind it was, they just looked good)

That’s it.

I apologize for the lack of pictures in this tutorial, but I did it in an afternoon with no husband around to take the pictures, and it’s an awkward project to photograph while you are doing it.  Here are a couple of explanatory pictures after it’s all up.

I took the wood and put it in the shape I wanted, leaning them up against each other.  Then, I took the rope and started winding it around tightly until it was sturdy and wouldn’t slip or tip over.

(I tried a thinner rope on my first go around and the teepee was falling over constantly, so go with the thicker rope)

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Then I draped the drop cloth around the frame, cut two slits in it and tied the canvas onto the frame.

That’s right, NO SEWING!  NO DRILLING!  NO SAWING!

SO SIMPLE!

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My kids can’t get enough of it.  It was very hard to even get a picture without this littlest one in it.

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How we do Valentines Day

I’m not a big decorator for holidays (aside from Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas).  Mostly because the other holiday colors don’t match the colors of my house (is that weird?).  So our house only looks like Valentines Day on the actual day…not before or after.

We have a few traditions for Valentines Day that we have been doing for a few years now.

The first tradition is that I always give my kids a love note from me (something our Mom always did for us).  I made the kids simple little felt bags to hang on their doorknobs.  I put a few chocolate candies inside of the bag and taped their love note along with some paper hearts to their bedroom door the night before Valentines Day so that they would find it in the morning when they woke up.  Lizzie and Bryce both knew that I was going to give them a surprise and they were very excited!

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I got up a bit earlier than usual and made the kids pink heart-shaped pancakes with whipped cream and sprinkles.  I bought these heart-shaped plates for a dollar a few years ago and we use them for all of our meals on Valentines Day.  I also put a Valentines Day tablecloth on our table…which the kids thought was so cool!

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This year, I found this gigantic card from Jon on our couch when I got back from dropping Lizzie off at school.  I love my husband. 🙂

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For dinner, I made heart-shaped pizza, which was a bit hit.  But when is pizza not a hit?

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Dinner wouldn’t be dinner recently without one of the kids having a tantrum of sorts.  This is Bryce being upset because we wouldn’t let him eat dessert first.  Aren’t we the worst parents ever? 🙂

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Dessert was very simple.  There are simply too many cute ideas to choose from, so I just vetoed them all.  I ended up making instant chocolate pudding from a box and topping it with cool whip and sprinkles.  Easiest dessert ever.

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Oh, and I made the easiest fudge on the planet as well.  Everyone got one piece…the rest went with Jon to work.  That’s how we roll around here.

🙂

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Want the recipe?

I read this recipe a while ago and finally decided to give it a shot.  All you do is melt 1 bag of white chocolate chips in the microwave and then mix it with 1 container of strawberry frosting.  That’s it!  I put the mixture inside of an 8 X 8 inch square pan (lined with aluminum foil).  I also pressed sprinkles in the fudge, but that’s optional, of course.  It was ready to cut into pieces after only 30 minutes in the fridge! 🙂

I hope that you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day and was able to spend it with the people you love the most!

Loaded Baked Potato Chicken Bake

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I’ve said before that two of my enemies in the kitchen are chicken and potatoes.  I have a really hard time coming up with whatever it takes to get those two things juicy and tasty.  Well, this recipe did it.  My husband proudly labled these the best potatoes I have made in our seven years of  marriage.  Delicious!

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces

1 jar of bacon crumbles

8-10 medium sized potatoes

4 Tbsp butter

1/4 cup green onions chopped

1 cup grated cheese salt and pepper to taste

I love this recipe because I didn’t have to peel the potatoes 🙂  I just cut them up in bite-size pieces and then I put them in the microwave for 5 minutes to soften them before baking them.  Then you melt 3 Tbsp of butter.  You put the potatoes in a 9×13 pan and drizzle it with the melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Then you bake at 400 turning every 10 minutes or so.  While the potatoes are baking but 1 Tbsp of butter in a pan and cook the chicken 3-4 min on each side.

When the potatoes are crispy, take them out of the oven and turn the oven to 350.  Layer the chicken, bacon, cheese, and green onions on top of the potatoes and then bake for 15 minutes until cheese is melted and a little crispy.

Serve with sour cream or ranch and watch it disappear!

Dental Embarrassment

As I have in a round about way mentioned in a previous post, dentists intimidate me.  I really, really, really dread going to the dentist with a passion.

I feel overwhelmingly embarrassed being lectured on dental hygiene, despite my efforts to maintain good dental health.  It feels extremely uncomfortable for me to invite another person (a stranger) to look inside of my mouth.

I think that I must have a phobia of sorts.

Dentalphobia?

Who knows.

When I go to the dentist, I can’t help but feel as if the dentist is being condescending towards me.

I’m positive that the following thoughts cross the dentists mind when he examines my mouth…

“Man, I can’t believe this girl.  Does she not own a toothbrush?  I really don’t want to clean her teeth, but that’s what she’s paying me the big bucks for, I suppose.  She claims that she flosses every day…what a stretch.  If she truly flossed every day than why in the world would her gums be unhealthy?  Why lie?  Does she think I’m stupid or something?”

Anyway, I can’t know for sure what’s really going on in his mind.  I can only speculate.  But I swear that my thoughts aren’t far from the actual truth!

Last week, however, I think that I felt the most embarrassed at the dentist office than I ever had before.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Lizzie went to the dentist in late December for some dental work.  She had to get a few caps, among other things.  Anyway, for at least a week following the procedures, Lizzie complained of pain in her gums.  I called the dental office a few times, just to make sure that she didn’t need to be seen again.  They continually assured me that she was fine and that the pain would eventually stop.

I relaxed a bit and tried to be patient.  However, a  few weeks after her appointment, I noticed that the gums immediately below her new caps had turned white.  Yes, white.

I panicked.

I thought for sure that her gum tissue had died or something.  I was positive that the dentist must have injected the Novocaine incorrectly and it damaged her gums.  Or that the cap was put on too tightly and that circulation had been cut off to that particular portion of the gums.

I called the dentist first thing the following morning.

I was, again, reassured that everything was completely normal.  The dental assistant told me that gums often turn white as a result of the trauma of receiving caps.  She advised me to continue to floss and brush and that the gums would return to normal in a few weeks.

So…I waited.

I brushed and flossed her teeth obsessively for days.  And weeks.

Her gums were still white underneath one particular cap.

After 3 long weeks of waiting for the white gums to turn red again, I finally called the dentist back.

The dental assistant tried to shrug it off again and tell me that everything was completely normal and that I shouldn’t worry.  I simply couldn’t believe it.  Seriously.  This was my daughter they were shrugging off!  I didn’t hang up the phone until they scheduled an appointment for Lizzie first thing in the morning.

I just knew that something wasn’t right.

I just knew that her gum tissue had died.

I was ready to sue for malpractice!

We arrived at the dentist and we didn’t even have to wait five minutes in the waiting room…a record, for sure!

I vented all of my concerns to the dental assistant, who listened very intently.

When the dentist entered the room, she immediately asked me one question:

“Do you floss her teeth religiously?”

I, of course, answered in the affirmative.  I was completely confident that I had done everything in my power to take care of her teeth.  I may miss a day of flossing every now and then, but for the most part, I’m very consistent.

Are you ready for the embarrassing part?

As soon as the dentist peeked into Lizzie’s mouth she said, “Oh, she’s got food stuck in there”.

That’s right folks…food.

I immediately felt embarrassed.  The first phrase that exited my mouth was “Oh, that’s weird.  What kind of food?”.  Hello!  How would the dentist know what kind of food it was?!

To make a long story short, a piece of chicken (yes, the food was eventually identified) had gotten stuck underneath her cap and placed itself on top of the gums.  Which was why the gums looked white.

There are no words aside from embarrassment to describe my feelings.

After removing the chicken, the dentist lectured me regarding proper dental hygiene.  I obviously wasn’t taking good care of my daughters teeth.  I obviously wasn’t flossing religiously.  She is too young to understand these things.  It is I, as her mother, that needs to take full responsibility of her dental health or her teeth cannot  be saved.

Okay.  I get it.

It is obvious to me now that I will never enjoy going to the dentist!

But at least I know now that it’s possible for chicken to get jammed underneath dental caps and look like infected gum tissue!  Next time, I won’t worry as much!

🙂