Monday, November 17, 2014

Reversible Thanksgiving and Christmas Block Art: Nap-Time Pursuits Link Up!

This post contains affiliate links. 

Happy Tuesday! This is the first ever Nap-Time Pursuits Link Up with my pal Lindsay from Red Door Gardens! I am so excited to share great stuff with you each week. There are more details about the Link Up below. But for now.  .onto my new favorite decoration: reversible Thanksgiving and Christmas block art! 

I've had reversible block art on my holiday bucket list forever.  I was so excited to finally complete this project. I did it while my 2-year-old took a long, long nap on a rainy day. My mom joined me and we had a nice afternoon creating and de-stressing.  The project is super easy and I totally love the fun, funky, modern vibe it lends to my Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations.  

The blocks were sourced from A.C. Moore, painted and then decoupaged with my favorite craft tool: Modge Podge! I made a reversible set to cover both Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I think I might try to Modge Podge a side with a Valentine's Day message on one side and maybe get crazy with something Easter-y (He is Risen!) on another side. 

I used "We Give Thanks" and "Merry + Bright" as my phrases. You can write anything you want. Try "Gobble Gobble" and "Jingle Bells" or "Happy Thanksgiving" and "Merry Christmas." If you have extra letters for one phrase, just use that block as a spacer or use a scrapbooking embellishment to jazz it up! 

Here's what you need:

1. Paint all sides of your wooden blocks with white acrylic paint. 
2. While the paint dries, cut out squares from your scrapbook paper. I measured the squares to be about an 1/8" smaller than the blocks. I also cut a bunch of extra squares, so I could play with the placement and pattern of the papers on the blocks.
3. When your blocks are dry, arrange the scrapbook paper squares on your blocks. Rearrange again and again until you have your papers in a pattern that is pleasing to you! 
4. Spread some Modge Podge on your block, place the paper square on the block and then use a paintbrush to cover it with Modge Podge. 
5. Let the blocks dry for a few minutes. Then add your scrapbook sticker letters and cover in Modge Podge again.
6. Let dry. And repeat steps 2-5 for the reverse side.

Happy crafting! 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Honor Jordan: November 18 Random Act of Kindness Day



I found this poem when I was flipping through an ancient set of poetry books long ago gleaned from my grandparents bookcase. I was struggling with how to explain the life of a beautiful girl named Jordan DuPriest when I stumbled upon this Emily Dickinson poem. Like a feather, the poem floated right into my lap and my consciousness. 

Jordan DuPriest is hope. 

Jordan was a warrior-a beautiful, smiling warrior girl who died when she was 12 years old at the hands of ependymoma. Twice, Jordan was the first person to donate to my own childhood cancer warrior's Alex's Lemonade Stand. Twice, Jordan inspired me to never hesitate to give fully and completely when asked to help grow hope. 

Death did not take away the hope that shined through Jordan's eyes like a beacon--her legacy lives on through her family. Her mother, Kimberly, is a relentless advocate for childhood cancer awareness, research and cures. Her steps are fueled by endless love for her child and for the unrelenting belief that Jordan's legacy will be hope: hope for healing, hope for a cure, hope for childhoods free of cancer.

There is nothing more delicious than love and hope, growing and building and battling towards the day when childhood cancer, when brain tumors like ependymoma, are in the history books and we find ourselves victorious.

On Tuesday, November 18, we all have a chance to grow and build the legacy of one special girl: Jordan DuPriest. Jordan passed away on November 18, 2013 at the hands of ependymoma, a vicious pediatric brain tumor, for which there is no cure. Jordan dedicated her short life to raising awareness, to working towards a cure and to waving the feather of Hope for all to see. 

Jordan is a feather—a light in the breeze—a bright shining example of hope and its limitless possibilities. 

On November 18, join the Fairy GodMother Project to honor Jordan’s legacy of selflessness and hope. It is simple:


  • RSVP on Facebook to join the Random Acts of Kindness Day in Honor of Jordan
  • Sign up and receive cards (via email) from the Fairy Godmother Project.
  • On November 18, perform a random act of kindness, heck, perform 12 random acts of kindness. Give the receipt the card; and encourage them to pay it forward. 
  • Share what you did with the FairyGodmother Project, share it on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag: #HonorJordan



 Join me to honor the life of a beautiful girl and to continue her legacy of hope.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Amazing Wubble Bubble Ball Review


When I asked my 5-year-old to give me her Wubble Bubble Ball Review she was pretty clear on her opinion:

“Mommy, I just have one thing to say about the Wubble Bubble Ball: It is so much fun.”

And I have to agree! The Wubble Bubble Ball is a total blast. 

We were so excited to be able to do a Wubble Bubble Ball Review! My kids played with the Wubble Bubble Ball for 4 hours on a cold, blustery day. And by my kids, I also mean my husband and myself. My family of five had a total blast bouncing and kicking and throwing around the amazing Wubble Bubble Ball.  




So, what makes the Wubble Bubble Ball so amazing?  It is truly like a giant bubble that never disappears into thin air. You can bounce and kick and toss and cuddle with the giant Wubble Bubble Ball. My little guy loved it so much, he fell asleep saying Wubble and woke up demanding to play all over again! 

The ball inflates quickly and deflates just as quickly—making it an easy toy to store and transport. 

The Wubble Ball package includes the Wubble, pump, nozzle, nozzle adapter and inflation guide. You just add the 4 "D" batteries (non-included) and within a couple of minutes your Wubble is backyard, front yard and playroom ready for big fun! 




Note: The first time we tried to inflate we did not insert the nozzle deep enough into the hole in the ball and inflation took forever. We started over, inserted the nozzle a little deeper and the Wubble inflated in under 3 minutes. 

Deflation is quick, just insert the nozzle adapter and nozzle, opening the inflation hole in the Wubble and the ball deflates instantly. 

The Wubble Bubble Ball is on my Christmas list for all the kids in my life. 


Things to know:


  • Target selected the Wubble™ Bubble Ball as a 2014 Top Toy for the Holiday Season. It was listed among other popular toys and games that are sure to be on every holiday wish list.
  • Wubble Bubble Ball is a Family Fun Toy Of The Year Award Winner. The 25 winners are featured in the November 2014 issue of Family Fun Magazine. 
  • Inspired by his children's wish for a real bubble to play with, NSI President Frank Landi developed the Wubble™ Bubble Ball to keep children's love for fun, active play alive.
  • Wubble has won numerous toy awards, including an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Toy Award, a National Parenting Center Seal of Approval, a Mr. Dad Approved Award, a Parent's Choice Award and the  Dr. Toy Best 100 Picks Award and more! 
  • Wubble Ball is available at Target, Toys R Us and online at www.wubbleball.com. Wubble Ball is on Twitter (@WubbleBall) and Facebook (facebook.com/wubbleball). 
  • Wubble Ball's are not indestructible, but they have a lifetime replacement guarantee. It costs $6.99 to replace a Wubble under the guarantee. 
  • Please take care not to damage your Wubble Ball during inflation. It might be necessary to use a little bit of oil (whatever you have in your kitchen) to insert the pump into the Wubble Ball the first time. If you have any trouble inflating your Wubble ball, you may find this video about "How to Inflate a Wubble Ball" helpful: http://youtu.be/jy4QK8zRcAo 
video

Disclosure: I was compensated and provided with the amazing Wubble Bubble Ball to review. All opinions are my own. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I have to vacuum.

This morning, my middle child, who is typically the only voice of reason in the entire house, was screaming for 10 minutes (which is like 10 hours in non-parent time) about the color of her uniform skirt. She was also kicking at the air and thrashing around like someone about to be tied to a table and given shock therapy.

Simultaneously, the almost-2-year-old was also screaming because he only has vocabulary related to Star Wars and Football and apparently whatever he needed did not fit into either the Star Wars or Football category, so he resorted to animal-like screams that should be reserved for CIA prisoners.

The oldest was wearing a polo shirt with short legging pants that appeared to have belonged to a baby,  eating her hair and muttering about how there were too many babies in this house. The whole episode made her look like a crazy hobo/bag lady/orphan child in a 1920s inspired musical.

There is not enough coffee or wine or shock therapy in the world.

At this point, I feel I should come to some higher level, beautiful conclusion about how it all goes so fast or how this is the job or something enlightened and brilliant about parenthood and motherhood. Perhaps point to the deep and critical importance of the job.

But, the baby has begun throwing yogurt melts all over the living room and since the dog has stopped eating yogurt melts, I have to find the vacuum and begin working on my Halloween costume.






Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Star Wars Rebels: My Two Year Old is Obsessed

My two year-old is obsessed with Star Wars Rebels.

Before you comment about how Star Wars Rebels is not aimed at toddlers,  just know that I don't care. We gave Thomas the Tank Engine a whirl a couple weeks ago.  I was totally disgusted by the raging trains with snotty attitudes and passive aggressive communications.

I already have two daughters who provide me with enough attitude. I certainly don't need to watch trains sniping at each other about who is more useful.

Anyway, back to my two-year old's most favorite show: Star Wars Rebels.  It is some sort of Star Wars cartoon. I'd like to pretend that I could recap each episode or perhaps give you a run down on each character or tell you what valuable lessons my toddler is learning from watching the program.

But I can't.

While he is watching, I am half watching (checking for nudity, blood and angry trains named Percy) and writing.  For 30 minutes, I can think and string together a few sentences. It is like a writers retreat.

While he is watching, he is also clutching his Stars Wars Colors Board Book, for dear life, while shouting new words like:

Force
Wookie
Droid
Ship
Star
Wars 
Rebellion

Frankly, the Star Wars Rebels characters (who names I cannot remember) have become 30 minutes of mommy writing time every morning. And while I am slightly concerned that my son is nurtured by the electronic equivalent of a comic book store, the thing is, he is happy, has stopped acting like a monster (i.e. growling at me and attempting to eat my leg and break my laptop) and has moved on to planning rebellions and insurrections with his sisters' Barbies.

And you know what, I am happy about it all. Maybe he will be an astronaut or President or dictator of a small island nation. Either way, I'll be proud.

Well, my 30 minutes is up.  May the force be with you.

PS If you really want to read what Star Wars Rebels is all about, the Nerdist recaps every episode. Yes. Nerdist. This is who I've become, the woman who is reading recaps of Star Wars cartoons. #StarWarsMom

PPS This post contains affiliate links. Go buy that Star Wars Board Book. It is adorable and sort of a primer/character guide for mothers who don't know a Storm Trooper from a Jedi.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Seven Reasons Why I Think This Picture is Stupid (or You can read your Bible in School)



So, I think this picture is stupid.

I am sorry if you shared it and now you think I am calling you stupid. I don't think you are remotely stupid. I just think this image and the message is stupid.

If only the world's problems could be solved by dumping some Bibles into the local elementary school and reading a little Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. If only coloring pictures of Noah and his Ark would lower the rates of incarceration. If only, stupid, sensational quote-emblazzoned images truly held the key to turning our world into utopia.

If only.

The truth is, Bible or no Bible, people go to jail. Heck, Jesus died a criminal; as did most of his disciples.  Here are my seven reasons why I think this picture is stupid and needs to be deleted forever:

1. You are allowed to have the Bible in school. In fact, both my oldest girls have brought in the Bible or a religious book for silent reading time.  Your kid can read the Bible in school, if they choose. And if anyone ever stopped them, they would be in violation of their freedom of religion.

So, if you want to read a Bible at school, then, by all means, read it.

P.S. Your kid can pray too! My kid prays before every Math test.

2. If you want your Child's teacher to read and teach from the Bible in school, go to a private religious institution. If you think religion should be a government mandated part of education, then, well, hop in a time machine. Or perhaps try out one of the countries where religious peoples are murdered and forced to practice their beliefs in hiding, because the prevailing religion is not their own.

There are countries were children are not allowed to say Grace. They are not allowed to pray. They are not allowed to complain about the lack of the Bible in school. If they do complain, they go to jail. Or they die.

Oh, that is not appealing?

3. If you want your child to learn from the Bible, then read it to them. Read it yourself. Toss a few Bibles on your coffee table. Pop one in your car.  If you think more children in your community would benefit from Christ's teaching--then teach them. Show the world that being a Christian is about living the word, loving each other and forgiving each other.

I, for example, forgive the creators of the stupid image. I love them. Even though I think they might be stupid.

4. You know what a jail is full of: sinners.
You know what a church is full of: sinners.
You know what a school is full of: sinners.
You what the Bible is full of: sinners.

Notice a pattern? God loves us all the same.

5. Things that land you in jail:
Getting caught.
Lack of quality legal represenation
Lack of bail money
Not being white

Note: there is no scholarly research that suggests children who have Bibles in school are less likely to go to jail.  You know who is in jail: minorities. You know why: our justice system sucks.  You know why not: because of the Bible.

6. Jesus, well, he died a criminal. He completely offended the Roman government. And then they killed him.

Our Savior, sentenced to death, like a criminal with a Bible in jail.

7. His disciples, well, a few of them ended up in jail. Following a radical religious figure like Christ, leads you to jail. And Christ calls us to be revolutionaries. Christ wants us to challenge the world. So, challenge it. Don't simply throw a book at it.






Monday, October 27, 2014

Last Minute Guide to a Spooky Halloween

Halloween is Friday. Apparently. There are no more weekends. There are just four days to make Halloween spooktacular, while also managing the necessary household things (like feeding, clothing, home working and entertaining the little ones.).

Forget Pinterest. Forget Martha Stewart. Forget ghosts and goblins artfully made from footprints. Put down the glue gun, pick up a glass of wine and let your house do the work for you!

All you need is my Last Minute Guide to a Spooky Halloween. My guide will make your house spooky, to even the most critical of Trick or Treaters! And the best part: it gives you full permission to avoid household work in the name of all things scary.

Killing two birds with one stone, is super spooky, right?

Here are my top guide tips for a last minute spooky Halloween!

1. Haunted houses always have cobwebs; so put away your feather duster!


How lucky am I? These cobwebs are right in my front windows! If I get really lucky maybe a spider will come along!

2. The best costumes are homemade, so stop doing laundry!


Full disclosure: I spent approximately 400 hours making amazing handmade costumes that my children just throw around like LAUNDRY. The "Laundry Monster Costume" is the new exclusive costume for my family!

3. No time to carve your pumpkin, no problem! Let nature do the job!


For years, we fought the squirrels using scarecrows and keeping our pumpkins indoors. No more! I say, let the squirrels do the work!

4. Dead flowers give a natural abandoned graveyard appeal! (and they're free!)


And to think, my husband thought I had carelessly forgotten to water the hanging baskets! I was planning Halloween all along! #Overachiever

5. Clean out your pantry and fill your trick or treat bowl!


Okay, so this tip requires some effort, but really, you could just take your arm and swipe off the pantry shelves, using the minimal amount of work, right? And imagine the joy on children's faces when they present their mother with Quick-Cooking Grits and Goya Bouillon! You are saving their mother a trip to the grocery store. We all have to stick together, right?


Happy Halloween!