Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why it stinks to be a grownup. AKA....I hate storms

When I was little, Hurricane Hugo came through our town.  I remember waking up at 3am and heading to my parents room because a tree fell next to my window.  They didn't believe me.  I ended up sleeping with my mom and my dad went to my room.  In the morning...a tree was on each side of my corner room.  TOLD YOU!

Later that morning we watched the neighbors trees LITERALLY twirl in their yard and guessed which would fall next.  This was all viewed through the large bay window in the living room, of course.

Flash forward to today.  I am a total wreck.  I like storms when they are small and not windy.  Our new house has these weird, tall, skinny trees.  I freaking hate them.

See the one to the right?  The leaning one? I hate that one the most. I like the privacy they offer in the spring and summer, but that is all.

We have lived here for about 5 years now. Since we have been here the neighbor behind us had a tree fall and break our fence.  Our neighbor on one side of us had TWO trees fall.  Luckily they didn't hit either house and no one was hurt.

So when it is storming, my panic level goes to about 1500. They SWAY in the wind.  SWAY.   I just know one is going to fall.  They are INSANELY tall.

So today there is a chance of horrid storms coming through here.  My plan....pick up kids early, come home, make cookies, watch movies,and hide in my make-shift storm shelter if necessary.

It is not the most organized closet, but you should have seen it before I got it ready!  I have beanbags and blankets for padding. Bike helmets for the kids. Three water bottles.  Oh, and my Waka-Waka flashlight/charger. I love that darn thing. It has probably been the most useful thing I have reviewed.  I use it almost every day.

So, if you find yourself like me facing some scary weather check out these site!   (I stalk this all day long. Just put in your zipcode)
CDC info for Tornados   All kinds of before, during, and after info 
"Go bag" kit items    Pretty extensive check list!

Stay safe!! 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spring Break 2014

My kiddos have already been back to school for a week. Where we live Spring Break is the week before Easter.  It has taken me that long to recover!

This year we decided to hang near the house and see what we could get into.  We had friends from out of state come over, hit the aquarium (unfortunately on a day when the local middle school was there), went to the zoo for the day with Eric, AND went on a train ride for Easter!  We also had TWO Easter egg hunts and ate way too much candy.

For my birthday I received some cash from different relatives and bought myself a new camera lens!  The kids have been playing sports for years, yet we could never really see them in the pictures.  Now we can.

Enjoy some zoo pictures (and of course a few adorable pics of the kids)

 Batter batter batter...SWING!!!

Neighborhood Egg hunt!

I love V's face here.  lol

 She found the Golden Egg and won $1!
Such a good dad.

 Zoo time!  With a zoom lens!  EXCITING!!

The boys had to get pictures with EVERY SINGLE STATUE.

Yes. That IS Nate smelling the butt of a giraffe statue.

I could have stayed at the chimps all day. Look how cuddly!  They were right at the window!

Pretty sure this was one of the babies we saw last year.


So as we are driving home Eric saw a sign that said "Covered bridge" an hour later and after two detours we spent about 10 minutes there.

Train ride!  V did her crazy eyes.

 So that was our spring break in a nutshell.  Did you do anything fun?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Bunny Express at the NC Transportation Museum

Once again, we had a BLAST at the NC Transportation Museum.   If you follow me on this blog you know we have gone for the Day Out with Thomas as well as the Santa Train.

This time I was offered a chance to ride the Easter Bunny Express and I jumped at it!  The way the day was SUPPOSE to go was: Train Ride at 10am, walk around and do the crafts/tattoos/look at displays, and then Easter Egg hunt at noon.

How it went was this:  RAIN....RAIN.....Train RIde....Tattoos/crafts/displays....RAIN.  The train ride was a lot of fun though.   there was train information being played over the intercom (couldn't hear it though due to a train full of kids), and free candy!  The train ride lasts about 25 minutes, the "conductor" punches your ticket, and then came the bunny.  The bunny was NOT scary looking, like many are. He was a pretty cool rabbit. He walked around high fiving and giving thumbs up!  He also wore jean overalls, which I found charming.

One word of warning, if you go on the train and it is raining WATCH OUT.  It is a very old train.  Rain does leak through the ceiling.  Get there early and check out the seats for water drips!

Here are a few cute pictures from the day.  

I absolutely ADORE V's body language in this picture.  She was not having him.

Mr. I-Act-Like-I-Am-Too-Cool-For-Everything Aidan was grinning ear to ear at this part.  He LOVED the models. Truth be told, I did too!

They had a coloring area and a make a bunny area(from a paper bag). Cute little crafts to keep the kiddos attention for a bit.  You know me, I love a good craft!

One thing that I wish I could change, and probably the only thing, is this building.  We always drive by it on the train and look in the windows.  They have old cars, trains, airplanes...but you can't walk near ANY OF THEM.  See the little chain in the bottom right hand corner? You couldn't go past it. BUMMER.  I really wanted to checkout some other cars!  

Overall a great day!  I really really wish it wasn't raining so we could have had the Easter Egg hunt, but the kiddos scored enough candy for the rest of the year this weekend anyway.

If you are in NC,I totally recommend this.

*I was given 4 free tickets in exchange for my review. Regardless, the opinions are my own.  (And I bought one ticket and would do it again...unless they wanted to give me 5 free tickets. ;)  )

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Front Door Makeover!

Ever since we moved into this house I have HATED the front door. It is black, scraped up, and without an overhang it gets HOT in the summer. So much so, that I hate opening it. So here is what it looked like:

The front step REALLY needed to be patched.  Eric filled it with wood filler and sanded it before the painting began.

Trim painted.  We just did white. Nothing thrilling. It was a primer and paint in one.  Amazing how much just doing this tiny step changed the entire look!

Next up, the doorbell. Insanely sad, right?  It wasn't put on crooked, I forgot to take a closeup before taking out the screws.  It was straight.

I am super proud of this. I changed the bell BY MYSELF.  It was a relatively inexpensive redo. It was about $9 at Lowes.  The center button has a light in it!

We removed the handles, peep hole, and door knocker from the door.  I used Kilz Premium, which you can get at Walmart for about $9. It is an indoor/outdoor primer. I only did one coat and it was a bit blotchy, but ended up covering the black well! I let it dry for about an hour before proceeding.

Hi there Creeper Nate!

Once it dried, it was time to paint.  I used Benjamin Moore in Blue Lake.  This paint was a bit pricey. It was about $20 for a quart.  Maybe that is normal price for paint? I don't buy large amounts of paint that often. The quart was WAY more than I needed for the door. I might actually paint the back door now.

I applied two coats of paint.  I followed the recommended timing and waited 4 hours between the coats.

I then installed my new elephant door knocker. You can find this on many sites:  Amazon ($19), Anthropologie ($28).  I found it on EBay for $12!!!!  Just search "cast iron elephant door knocker"

I ordered the Dynasty Hardware from Amazon. Word of warning. CHECK THE PLACEMENT OF YOUR HANDLES.  The deadbolt and top of the handle fit nicely.  Where the bottom of the handle fits, we had to drill a new 9pm.    I got our peep hole for about $10 at Lowes.   The new kickplate was also purchased from Lowes.

So here is the total makeover!

Doesn't it look FABULOUS from the yard?!? Amazing how much I love this!

What kind of home improvements are you working on this spring?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter Bunny Express is coming!!!

I LOVE this place!

Take a ride on the Easter Bunny Express. The Easter Bunny will be riding alongside children and their parents, while handing out candy for the kids. Kids can also get temporary tattoos and make a craft to take home!
I missed last weekend,but the fun continues Friday and Saturday, April 18 & 19.

April 19 Only: The big Easter Egg Hunt happens at Noon for kids 10 and under. AND In addition to the Easter Bunny Express, the event will also feature the Lehigh Valley Steam Locomotive #126 pulling the museum's special Caboose Train!

Get Your Tickets Today!

Train Ride Times

April 12 - 10, 11, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30
April 13 - 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30
April 18 - 10, 11, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30
April 19 - 10, 11, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30

April 19 ONLY - Annual Easter Egg Hunt - Noon
Children will be divided into age groups, 0-3, 4-5, 6-7 and 8-10. Golden eggs will be available in each age group. Eggs will be stuffed with small toys, candy and stickers. Bring your own basket!

Get Your Tickets Today!

See you there!

**I am receiving free tickets in exchange for my promotion.

Monday, April 14, 2014

How to Make a Shadow Puppet Theater for About $20

I LOVE entering contests online and have been lucky to win a few.  About a month or so ago I entered a contest on a friends blog to win some shadow puppets.  Only about 10 people entered WHICH IS INSANE and I was the lucky duck who won!

So I became the proud owner of some Paris Themed shadow puppets.  Did you click it?  Adorable, right? FYI, nothing in this post is sponsored. No affiliate links.  All me and my excitement here.

So I had these puppets and nothing to really use them with.  I wanted a stage.  Like, a cool stage.  I looked around Amazon and there wasn't really anything I saw I wanted.  Well, I take that back.  I saw lots of cool things, but it was so expensive.  

The other morning I was driving down the road and thought "I am going to make one!" and drove to Lowes.  I really had ZERO idea of what I was going to do when I got there. I totally winged it.

So here is what you need. (I lost my receipt. Oops. Prices are guessed.  Pretty close though!)

3-10 foot 1/2" pipes  around $3/each
2-1/2 inch T pieces  Maybe $0.30 each
4-1/2 inch 90 degree pieces $0.19 each
2-1/2 inch end caps $0.10 each
hand saw
E-6000 glue (not shown)
Pack of sheets (I got a twin set for about $9 at Walmart. Get something cheap and thin.  Buying this set was cheaper than getting a single sheet.)

First thing, cut the pipes.  I made mine kind of big since I have 3 kiddos. The pipes cut EASILY with the handsaw shown. I cut it about 1/2-3/4 through and then bent it to break them apart.  Cutting took me MAYBE 10 minutes, if that long.

Cut list:
4 - 3 foot long pieces
2 - 1 foot long pieces
2 - 2 foot long pieces

Once you cut the pieces you NEED to glue them, but not all of them if you ever want to take this down!  You can try to not glue it, but it is very floppy.  I tried without and found that the T connections liked to rotate.  

Seen below is what I glued together and it works great!  Minimal glueing. Still storable behind a couch, under a bed, etc.

Top piece: 3 foot long piece, T connector, 1 foot long piece, corner piece, 2 foot long piece, end cap. MAKE SURE the T connector is facing straight up!  Easiest thing to do, put it against a wall and make sure it is upright. If not, the screen won't be either!

Next piece down: 3 foot piece, 90 degree corner, 3 foot piece

Next piece: 2 foot piece, 90 degree piece, 1 foot piece, T connector

Last piece: 3 foot piece, 90 degree corner piece

Make sure when you glue them you have them laid out the correct way.  VERY important the T connectors are glued facing the correct way.  If you lay them out like this you should be golden.

I forgot to take pictures of the screen sewing part.  Oops. Once all dried, put the frame together.

The big square in the center is made of the 3 foot sections.  The parts to the left and right of the screen are the one foot sections. The back legs are the two foot sections.

Now take your sheet and find a corner.  Wrap one side over the top of 3 foot long section and secured with pins. JUST ALONG THE BOTTOM OF THE TOP BAR.  The other part of the corner should go down a side.  Then wrap it under the frame and secure the bottom part up with pins (like the top) and cut off the remainder.  Trim off the excess on the side.  I hope this makes sense. If not, ask!

Take it off the frame, head to the sewing machine and sew up the three sides. ONLY sew across the row. Make sure not to sew up the openings on the side!  You should have 2 tubes now.  One on the top and one on the bottom.   Just sew the side straight to make it look nice.No fancy tubes.

Head back to the frame.  Slide the sheet on the bottom. Put it together. 

Grab the side comprised of the 2 three foot pieces together. Slide the sheet on. Attack to the bottom frame.  Attach the other 3 foot side.


There you have it! A pretty cheap puppet theater!  Get a lamp and put it behind the screen, grab your puppets, and enjoy!

If you make one, let me know! I would love to see some posts on my Facebook page!  Feel free to ask questions below!

Monday, April 7, 2014

You know what isn't fun?

Strep.  Strep is not fun at all.  Last week I was feeling rather rough and forced myself to head to the Target Clinic. I freaking LOVE it there. So much easier to get in there than my regular doctor and only about 5 minutes away!

So I head over there and get swabbed. Fact about me: I choked on a piece of Mac & Cheese when I was little (I was sucking it up through a straw, of course) and ever since then I am terrified of choking.  So me and strep swabs don't mesh.  I LITERALLY cried when trying to decide whether or not I wanted it done.  I sucked it up, got swabbed, and not even the full 5 minutes later it came back positive. CRAP.

Wednesday I made Eric stay home and I was in bed the entire day.  I wanted to stay as far away from the kids as I could, since I was contagious.  I also had zero desire to move.  It didn't help.

Thursday I came back halfway from the land of the dead and Eric went to work.  V said there was "A ladybug in her ear" and was freaking out. She is TERRIFIED of ladybugs. She has actually woken up in the middle of the night in a panic that one was in her bed. We head to the doctor and there are NO ladybugs, no ear infection, no fever, NOTHING.  Her throat is a touch red so they take a swab and the quick strep comes back negative.

She spent most of the day passed out on and off on the couch.  When she woke up later in the day she was keeping her head turned to the right and kind of tucked to her shoulder. She also was zoned out.  I started to get a bit worried.  I didn't get really worried until it was still like that the next morning on top of her not wanting to walk-anywhere.  I had to pick her up to get her anywhere.  She wasn't wanting to walk anywhere.  Her chin was resting on her right shoulder and she was not moving it.  I called the doctor and we went over right after school drop off.

The nurse saw us and started freaking out a bit which made me freak out.  I mean, stiff neck...I am totally thinking meningitis.  

The doctor came in and said "So, how long has she has torticollis?"  To which I replied "Say what?" She then started telling me all about some fun ailment you can get where your neck is stiff.  There are many different causes and apparently swollen lymph nodes is one of them. No meningitis.  The long strep test still had no results so the doctor decided to put her on antibiotics anyway.  

Let me tell you something.  Giving a rabid cat an enema would be easier than giving V her meds.  I started out with cherry flavored chewable pills because she would NOT take liquid ibuprofen at the doctor the day before.  V did not want to chew the pills.   I tried bribery.  She had five halves. I promised a quarter a piece. NOPE.  I called it candy.  NOPE.  I printed off a Dora reward chart.  Take your meds V and get a doll when I it full! Nope. Well, kind of nope. She wants the doll, just not the meds.

So I called in and they prescribed some liquid.  It was bubblegum flavored. I remember that stuff FONDLY. I LOVED it as a kid. I would lick the spoon.  V on the other hand, nope.  First we tried to give her a bit at a time and let her swallow it.  NOPE.   Then we tried all at once....double nope. Now we GENTLY wrap her in a towel to hold her arms and legs down and shoot it in her mouth and jam a straw from her sippy cup full of apple juice into her mouth. Oh,and she has to get a smiley face on her chart.

The doctor called Sunday and the strep test for her was positive, so that explains her crappy mood.  The torticollis on the other hand, is a horse of a different color.  She isn't as tucked now and is moving it a bit,but not great. I use to work at a salon and one of the massage therapist actually gave her a mini massage yesterday and worked it out a bit. Man, I have awesome friends. :)  According to everything I have read, the condition can take 1-4 weeks to get rid of.  I hope it is sooner than later.  Poor V is stiff as a board. At least it isn't turned down now. Her head is held up looking straight, she just doesn't want to move it more than an inch or two.

So, you know, totally normal week this past week in my house. lol  How about you?  Any fun things going on?

*FYI, I am TOTALLY not a doctor or have medical experience. PLEASE take your kiddo to the doctor if you think something is wrong. I did. Including my trip, I went THREE times last week.