Friday, July 29, 2011

My New Trip "Must Haves"

Here's the next of my blog installments on our vacation. What was completely unique about this trip (at least for us) is that we planned it with a few money-saving (and some time-saving)ideas. Some of the greatest things we used on our trip were these four things:
Zipper-seal bags (in three sizes), a roll of TP, a roll of paper towels and small organizational trays from the dollar store.  I will tell you why each one of these things is on my new must have list for trips.
1.  The Zipper-seal bags-  I got these at the dollar store (Didn't want to get name brands, just simple ones).  I used the larger ones for dirty, wet clothes, for larger snack bags that opened and spilled and to organize in the car (i.e. all the snacks in this bag, all the lunch meats in this one, etc.).  I also read somewhere that they are good for any upset tummies when you need somewhere to throw-up fast.  Thankfully, I didn't have to use it for that.  The snack size are great for pouring single-servings of snacks into or saving leftovers.
2.  A Roll of TP:  With little ones in the car, it's hard to get them to hold it until the next rest stop.  We keep a small bowl style potty chair (think Baby Bjorn) under our seats with a bottle of water.  We can pull over anywhere and they have enough room in the van to "go".  We use the water to rinse out the bowl.
3.  A Roll of Paper Towels:  This one is a no-brainer.  It's good for messes!  Plus, since we did not stop to eat during our drive from Texas to Florida, we ate in the car.  I had an ice chest full of cold-cuts, cut up fruit and veggies and drinks.  We didn't have a lot of spills, but the roll was there when we did.
4.  Organizational Trays from Dollar Tree (Two Trays for a Dollar):  This one by far is my favorite.  I came up with this idea because my toddler has trouble trying to hold everything she is trying to eat in the car.  Actually, we all do.  With the trays I was able to place their sandwiches, chips and veggies in and it was easy to hold on to or place on your lap.  We didn't have a single spilled meal!  You can line it with a paper towel and clean-up was so easy.  Plus they all stack neatly on to each other.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thank You/Hostess Gift

So, we have all seen the Sand and Surf Solar Light, but I thought I would share what else we gave our hosts.  I wanted to take some stuff for the kids to enjoy.  I added a s'mores making kit (chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers), telescoping camping forks to roast the marshmallows on, glow bracelets, hair bows and a t-shirt for their daughter, some Lighting McQueen cups for the boys and of course the solar light.  I put it all in a cute tote from the dollar section at Target.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


So we are back from our week long vacation in Florida.  It was completely fabulous and everything went really well.  I have all these great blog ideas streaming through my head and hopefully I will be able to get them all down for you. 

I did however want to give you a little preview of where my cute Sand and Surf Solar light went.  Check out it's new home.  Not too shabby, huh?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Please, seriously someone stop me!

OMGosh! I can not believe it...our vacation is here. Tomorrow Today, we leave for Florida. As I said before, first we will be spending time with some old friends who have graciously opened-up their home to us. We hope to spend a lot of time on the beach and fishing. It's gonna be great. I picture it much like this Travelocity commercial which cracks me up every time it comes on.  I think it's her laugh/scream that always does it for me...I tend to laugh like that.

After a few days on the beach we will then travel to Orlando.  Then we drop the news on them and whisk them into the park.  Seriously, someone has to stop me from watching this commercial over and over.  I still sob every time it comes on.

So, I won't be blogging much next week, but I am sure I will when I get back.  Everyone have have a great week!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Next on TMZ(The Mommy Zone)!

Some days (I know all moms have had them), my kids drive me bonkers.  On those days I picture them the night before holding a meeting.  The meeting looks much like the TV version of TMZ.  The youngest is standing before their chalk/dry erase board taking notes like Harvey.  The other two are sitting in the little tykes chairs pitching ideas on how to make me crazy.  They pitch the ideas and the one-year old nods, chuckles while she sips from her sippy cup instead of Harvey's insulated coffee mug.  That idea totally amuses me. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"Sand and Surf" Solar Light

Well, our Florida/Surprise Disney vacation is fast approaching.  For the first part of our trip we will be visiting some old friends of ours and their children who live on the west coast of Florida.  We will be staying there for a few days to enjoy the sand, surf and sun.  I have been making a little gift bag of goodies to take them as a small token of our thanks for letting us stay there.  One of the items I am adding is this cute little solar lamp to place outside for some ambiance lighting.
Isn't cute?!  I almost don't want to give it away.
So here's is what I did to make this "beach in a jar".  First, I went and got these one of those cute patriotic solar light stakes from Wal-Mart.  It is smaller than most solar lights and it's only $1.50!  I then went to my local Dollar Tree and found small, but wide-mouthed jar that had a clear glass lid, a bottle of crafting sand, a basket of shells and the decorative blue stones.
I chose picked those pretty blue stones because they reminded me of the ocean.
I then add some shells to the bottom of the jar.  I tried to stand some up against the glass so you could see them.  I also added one on the bottom to kinda hold my solar light in place (in this case I only had to remove the "pole" and stake part of the solar light, leaving only the clear housing and the actual light).  I had to measure to make sure my light fit standing up in the jar.
The large upside down shell acted as a stand for the light.  You could hot glue it to the bottom of the jar and to the light.
I then put the light in place and while holding it, started to pour sand all around the light as evenly as possible.
I just love that I found sand at the dollar store!
Next was the cool looking stones that surrounded the actual light part of the solar light.  It's such a pretty color of stone....just like Florida waters.
Next I added some more shells on top, making sure not to cover the solar panel.  Next, I sealed up the jar and made sure the solar panel was close-up to the top so it can charge-up during the day.
Ta-da!  Project done.  I might add a cute little ribbon or tag or not.  It will be a great addition to some cute soft lighting at night on a balcony.  The best part is that it looks like the coast...a great reminder of summer all year round!

Look at how cool the light looks under the stones!

UPDATE 7/24: Check out this cutie's new home!

Homemaker in Heels

Organize and Decorate Everything

Making Memories

When I got married the priest that married us said that no matter how much you planned, something will go wrong or not quite as planned.  He said that as long as we,the couple, and he was there to marry us, then nothing else mattered.  Not the flowers, the music nor missing relatives.  He also said that things not going as planned sometimes made the best memories (more on that in a bit).
As I mentioned before, this last weekend my niece got married in the Texas Hill Country.  The backdrop was very picturesque.  However, when I saw my brother and sister-in-law(who was crying) come down the aisle, I started to cry sob.  I think I was just thinking that one day I would be the mother-of-the-bride and would have to see my daughter get married.  Either way, the waterworks began and the more I tried to stifle my sobs, the more they got louder.  After the ceremony my family poked fun at my sobbing.  It was quite funny in retrospect.
Anyway, I thought I would share some of my favorite pictures that I took that afternoon.
Now, going back to making memories part.  My niece's flower girl was so cute in her little dress. However, about 15 minutes into the ceremony she decided that she was tired.  She sat down and then ended up laying down in the grass.  It was a nice day...don't blame her at all!
So cute.
My nephew (the bride's cousin) then did a not-so-traditional reading.  He explained how at almost every wedding someone reads the same passage.  (Come on, we all know it..."Love is patient. Love is kind", etc.)  He then said that he would not be reading that passage and went on to read a different one.  His change-up was good and I think it made people pay attention just a bit more. 
The sun was setting behind him and made a great silhouette.
My niece and her now husband got married under this pretty gazebo.  The pink-ish salmon color really popped against the hill country behind them.
Pretty color, huh?
My husband and I decided to buy the newlyweds the most absurdly huge and heavy gift.  My family suggested that we not take the gift to the wedding and just drop it off at her apartment.  However, we thought it would be soooo much funnier if we just took it to the reception.  What wasn't funny was trying to wrap that sucker in the parking lot of the hotel, at 3PM, in triple digit weather.  Sadly, I was told that the paper tore on the way to her apartment.  Oh, well.
Took three rolls of 15 sq. foot paper!
Here's to a life full of blessings for the new couple!

On a side note...I forgot to take the sign I made my niece.  I will just give it to her next time I see her.

 UPDATE 7/12/11:  The happy couple came home from their honeymoon and opened their gifts.  Turns out someone did get to enjoy the torture I endured wrapping.
Look, there is my wrapping paper!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Squeeky Clean Post!

So, I ran into this great blog over at Fresh Cut just the other day.  The wheels in my head started spinning and I did the math.  My middle child has eczema and I use a detergent I buy at a club store.  The price for the big bottle is really good, but this worked out to be a better deal, is a greener product AND will not make my kid's eczema flare up.  Sounded like a win, win, win.

So I got to work and bought all of the items I needed. 
Fresh Cut used the pink Zote and I went with the white one.  I just liked the way it smelled.

I then cut-up my soap.  I ended cutting it up into about six slices and then quartering the slices.
I then grated my soap using my cheese grater since I didn't have a box grater or a larger food processor.

I thought it looked like coconut...which instantly made me crave something with coconut.
Since I needed actual granules of soap for the recipe, I then put the coconut soap into my little food processor.  Please excuse my food's old and needs a bath.
Oh, the irony.  I made such a mess making something to get stuff clean.

After I sent all the soap through the food processor, I mixed it all up in an air tight container.  I have already washed a couple of loads.  The towels came out pretty soft and do not have a scent.

If you want a scent in your soap the Fresh Cut blog post has suggestions and you can also refer to it for more instructions and tips.