Thursday, January 31, 2013

Beating the Winter Blues

I dreaded this time of year when I was a working girl.  Driving to and from work in the dark was so depressing and I worked in cube city, so I really only saw the light of day if I left the building for lunch.  Now that I am a stay at home mom, I get to enjoy (there is sarcasm in my typing) the grey skies ALL DAY LONG.  I think we all savour the sunny wintery days when they're here, but sometimes you need a little help to get you to spring.  Here are a few tips I use to beat the winter blues!

 Fake it, till we make it 
Buy some springy flowers.  They had color and bring a little life inside when its not to pleasant outside.  

All She Wants To Do Is Dance 
Listening to your favorite song is sure to put a smile on your face, and dancing gets the blood flowing and I'm certain get those endorphins going to.  Dance parties are always happening here!

Wine Wednesday or Thirsty Thursday
Turn your boring week day into an occasion.  Maybe you were stuck in crazy traffic or are exhausted from entertaining your kids all day because you're running out of options (I'm the latter.) The glass is definitely half full with this approach and is really a cure for any slump, any time of year.

Dress For The Wrong Season
Maybe this is a fashion no-no, but it may be a genius mood lifter.  Trade your black in for some bright pink.  My little fashionista always has a pop of color.

Plan a Fun Night Out
Maybe it's a date night or a girls night out, but I love having something fun to look forward to on your calendar.  Maybe you'll spend some time planning a fun outfit or even treating yourself to mani/pedi before your night out.

Get Out Of Dodge 
And if all of the above fails, the only cure for you is to get that credit card out and book yourself a trip somewhere warm.
Bahamas - April 2010


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

William's Toddler Room {Source List}

I've been getting a lot of traffic from the gallery wall post along with comments about where items were purchased. So here is the source list for as many items as I can remember.
Paint color - Benjamin Moore "Silver Half Dollar"
Picture Frames - IKEA Ribba
Spray painted White Nightstand - similar project
Lamp - Home Goods
Blanket - made by Grandma:)
Orange/White Pillow - Target
Rug - West Elm
Mini Dot Crib Sheeting - Pottery Barn Kids
Chamois Stroller Blanket - Pottery Barn Kids
DIY Fabric Pennant - Post here

Book Ledge - IKEA
Storage Bins - IKEA
Changing Pad Cover - Pottery Barn Kids

I hope this post helps anyone searching for these items!  
Have a great day and thanks for visiting!



Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Sweets {Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars}

I've still got this sweet tooth so I was at it again today with a new treat!
These peanut butter chocolate bars were so easy, like talking on the phone and mixing easy.

They are made using a yellow cake mix and while still warm they were almost too gooey and rich.  Sampling again after completely cooling, they were much better.  Still on the rich side though.  I would say these are perfect to make and take to a big party, but maybe too sweet to have an entire batch in your house all week.  
The recipe can be found here!



Friday, January 25, 2013

Homemade Snow

With the freezing temperatures outside, why not make our own little box of snow inside.  Lauren loves crafts, especially something she can really touch and play with.  That also means the messiest ones.  Homemade snow was perfect for her and a reason to clean for me.

I got the idea from here, pinterest too:)
I only used one container of cornstarch and a half of can of foamy shaving cream (not gel).  I also mixed up the snow myself so there wouldn't be a powdery mess and just kept adding more shaving cream until the consistency could form a ball.

I prepped everything while Lauren was at school and had a lid on the box until we were ready to start.  Curious was an understatement.
Like the original post described a tarp or newspaper is needed.  It was messy, especially when asking a four year old to keep the snow in the box.  It's like the forbidden fruit, they do it anyway.  The cost was inexpensive and it kept her busy from making a snowman to cookies and pies.

Just a few other pics from our week.




Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Homemade Laundry Soap

Did you know there are people out there making their own laundry soap?  I've always bought Tide, sale or no sale, it's a staple in our house.  Until my friend Sarah offered me a sample of her homemade laundry soap when we visited a few weeks ago.  She said her whites have never been so white!
The small ziploc bag she gave me lasted about six loads and I felt like it worked just as well, even getting spaghetti stains out with one washing!

The recipe seemed simple enough and apparently there are big savings.
I spent about $25 and it is suppose to last for 300 loads because all you need is 1 TBSP.  I'm keeping tabs on how long it really lasts.

You can find the recipe here.  I found everything at Kroger and Sarah purchased it all at Meijer.  

**We didn't add Dr. Bronners because we couldn't find it, but added 2 bars of Fels Naptha and an entire small jar of Oxi-Clean**
 It took less than an hour to put it all together.  Everyone was helping until the kids passed out from the powder fumes...just kidding:)

And even if you aren't into making your own soap, I would suggest buying this pre-treater.  Wet the stained item, rub the bar on the stain, and let it sit until dry.  Wash and voila!  The bar is $1.50, can't beat it!
It's no miracle detergent, but it is great and cheap!
Let me know if you try it:)


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Security? Security?

I don't know if other parents would agree but any time we are in a public place and my kids aren't strapped into a stroller, my heart tends to beat a little bit faster.  It's hoping they don't break anything, spill anything, or God forbid get lost.  The later being every parents worst fear and one I experienced last week at the Henry Ford Museum.

Wills is just like Usain Bolt in the background:)

Lauren was her usual curious self, but I think the other mom's were helping me keep her in line more so than their own children.  It seemed that every few minutes someone was yelling "Lauren, freeze" or "Lauren, too far."  And it wasn't terrible, just excitement because she was with her friends in a place she loves to visit.  But after lunch, we headed to the lego exhibit and all of sudden Lauren was gone.  Mind you, there are two other mom's and she just bolted.  I'm yelling for her and walking in a complete panic.  A security guard approaches me and asks me what she was wearing?  I'm trying to listen to him and explain the details of her ensemble while my head is spinning that I could not have just lost my daughter.
And then she was found by our friends.  Over before it even started.  I expected to see tears streaming down her face and thought there would be a big lesson learned on what it means to "stay by mommy."  Nope, sister didn't even know she was lost!
I walked away feeling embarrassed, relieved that nothing had happened and ready to head home where my heart rate to return to normal.



Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Sweets {Coffee and Cookie Brownies}

I love baking something sweet on Sunday to have in the house for the week, take to a neighbor or friend, or even send a plate full with Billy to work.
Bars, brownies or cookies are the perfect because they make enough for us to enjoy and give away.

I cut this recipe out of a Better Home and Gardens magazine in 2007.  This is the first time I've made these coffee and cookie brownies and let me tell ya...we've been missing out on this goodness.  

I already packed a goodie bag for our neighbor. The label took no time to make and I always keep these fun clear bags on hand.
Here is the recipe, let me know if you try them!



Thursday, January 17, 2013

Easy Storage Solution

With four people living in a 1500 square foot space, there are bound to be storage issues.  We are constantly reorganizing and purging what isn't used so our closets don't become a scene from Hoarders.  A nice little before and after for you.

But I'm also looking for unusual ways to store my favorite things so they can be worn more often.  Tucked away in a box or messy drawer can make something go long forgotten, which can also make for a fun moment when you find it...guess who wore the same yellow belt five days straight because she forgot she bought that hidden gem?  This girl!

In our room we have a closet that barely even fits all of Billy's clothes.  My wardrobe is dispersed all over the house, but most of my everyday ensembles are in this dresser...but I wanted my shoes, scarves, and belts to have a nice home.  And a home where I could see them.

This is what is now hiding behind the door!  Our bedroom door is almost always open so I'm never looking at this unless I'm getting dressed.

I've had the over the door storage for my shoes for awhile.  I mainly keep in season everyday shoes here and my more dressy heels are in their original boxes in the closet upstairs.  My friend Beth gave me the idea for the shower curtain rings.  These are $1 at IKEA.  
She used them for belts...

But they just kept sliding on the hanger.  Scarves worked better for me and I just placed the belts on the hooks that I purchased at Target for around $4.
I love that I can see everything so much better and easily grab a belt or scarf to finish off an outfit!



Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Happy 70th!

We celebrated Grandpa's 70th birthday last weekend with an afternoon of bowling followed by a wonderful dinner out.

Of course, there was a little friendly competition between mom and dad which always adds a little something more to the experience.  I'm the loser, nothing big...Billy's picking our next movie at the theater.  Really hoping there isn't a zombie apocalypse movie showing.
Our attempt at a group shot:)

At dinner we went around the table and each person spoke about Bill, some were funny stories and some sentimental, but all were toasts of what a kind and compassionate person Bill is to all who know him.  And after listening to everyone, he said a few things and one being to Robin..."I have no regrets."  So touching!

You are an amazing father and the perfect grandpa.  You are always there for us, going above and beyond whatever is needed.  We love you so much!



Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sun and Snow

We don't have many free days during the week with Lauren being in school and I have been missing scheduled play dates where we take the kids somewhere special or even spend the morning at a friend's which is equally special because someone else's toys are always way more fun than ours.

We got to enjoy the perfect mix of sun and snow before our spring like temperatures hit this weekend.  

Our friends live right next to a hill that is the perfect size for all our little I thought:)
The hill wasn't at all steep but what I didn't know was that the sleds had some serious speed to them.  Each parent took turns waiting at the bottom to make sure to stop the kids so they didn't crash into any trees.  I thought sticking a boot out would have been suffice until the sled got under my boot.  Not only did the sled take me down but I  somersaulted over the kids and landed on my back with a mouth full of snow and one painfully popped jaw.

Look, the camera caught how fast they were going...

Don't worry, aside from a few tears the kids were fine and after a few chiropractic adjustments, so am I.

It looks like winter will be returning tomorrow and judging by all the smiles I captured I think there will be more sledding in our future!



Wednesday, January 9, 2013


For those with kids or babies on the way, I'm sure you've all heard people telling you "better get your sleep now, because you won't once that baby arrives."  And like most advice from unsolicited strangers, it was ignored.  We did get really lucky with Lauren in the sleep department.  I went back to work when she was three months old and she almost never woke up during the night.
Lauren - 5 weeks

Insert William. Let's just say we've had sleep issues since his first night home.  All day he was perfect and when night came he wouldn't let us put him down.  I remembering Billy and I blindly looking at each other like how are we going to get through this?  Our first reminder that no two children are alike.  Like all newborns there are nightly feedings and mix ups with days and nights, it just seemed to last a little longer in our house.  

I once said "you know why I'm crazy?  Try not getting a good night's sleep in eleven months."  Probably just a small piece of that puzzle was answered for those nearest and dearest, right?
William - 2 weeks

And just as it got better with William, it started with Lauren.  Another parenting reminder, if it's not one, it's the other.  Lauren started waking up during the night this summer and we made the big mistake of letting her sleep in our bed.  After I came to my senses, I thought telling her she could only sleep on the floor would start to deter the nightly visits, and they somewhat subsided but at least twice a week she was on the floor next to me.  By the time school started we tried to enforce sleeping in her own bed and decided to graduate to full on underwear at night and that started a entire new chapter of sleep issues.  We'd have good weeks and bad weeks and decided after too many bad weeks to go back to pullups.
She was found earlier this week sleeping under a pile of books and hugging her baby.

For the last few months there has just been something keeping the Crawford Clan from a good night's sleep.  Teething, potty trips, bad dreams, and crying for no reason.  I cringe at the sound of the monitor coming on in the middle of the night.  New Year's Day was the straw that broke the camel's back, Billy and I basically tag teamed our little insomniacs almost the entire night.  Lauren must have came out of her bed at least six times and we think she never actually settled into a deep sleep until after 6AM!  Totally bananas.  

Not sleeping under the blankets, but around and on top of.

But after talking to my other mommy friends I found that we are not alone.  No one is sleeping  consistently anywhere else either.  Not that misery loves company, but I felt relieved and comforted.  This wasn't a parenting fail moment, it's just part of the process.  And the bonus was that I got to bounce ideas off the other mamas.  

Idea: pink ladybug night light for Lauren.  She said it was perfect, so far so good.

We started some new rules and things seem to be going well.  Lauren may wake to use the bathroom, but she is going by herself.  She is scared to walk back upstairs alone, but knows that we will walk her up, tuck her in, and say good night.  William woke the other night and moaned for a good hour.  It was hard to not go up and comfort him but I knew that if I did it would potentially make it worse.  And low and behold, he soothed himself.  

Lauren and William, I'm writing this so that when you ask us why people won't shut up about how you won't get sleep when your baby comes, you can read this and maybe understand why:)