June 4, 2012

The Pirate Fest 2012

A girlfriend of mine asked my daughter and if we would like to go with her and her two girls to the annual Pirate Fest in Port Washington, WI.  This sounded like a great idea.  I was a little hesitate that we were going to be added to a bunkhouse that is already housing 25 people with approximately 1.5 kids per adult.  What was I getting myself into?

The Bunkhouse was an absolutely amazing place.  All about The Bunkhouse. This place is absolutely gorgeous.  It is well maintained and so family friendly.  Amazing when you think of all the grown men that go hunting and use this lodging facility.  Two dishwashers, all the pots, pans, sheets, towels, soap, shampoo (bring your own hair dryer), televisions - there is just too much to mention.  They provided a tractor ride through the countryside, which was absolutely beautiful and the children absolutely loved it.  The kids could run and play and be wild outside.  It is located just far enough from the main road that the kids had plenty of room to play safe.  Just across the street was a beautiful bike path.  My daughter and I took a long walk and picked asparagus for dinner.

As for the Pirate Fest, it was interesting.  The kids had more fun on the beach collecting and skipping rocks.  It was too cold to go in the water much more than ankle deep.  My daughter and I collected rocks and sea glass to make a picture frame with and we will frame some of the pictures from the vacation.  I will post pictures later once we are done.

There were three sassy, overly tired little girls bickering in the back seat all the way home (2.5 hours).  They couldn't fall asleep fast enough for me.  It was amazing how well all the children got along.  For the most part, we were all strangers to one another.  The organizing lady invited two friends who turned around and invited friends who also invited friends.  All those kids were a little hard on the husbands but they did well and the kids enjoyed having a couple of dads around to keep them in line.

As for meals, we ate most of our meals at the cabin.  We all brought food and had scheduled meals to cook.  We all pitched in for clean up.  We did, however, eat one meal out.  On Saturday we at at a Mexican place downtown.  Figuring it was a festival weekend, they would be somewhat prepared to handle a crowd.  The owners were very nice an accommodating.  However, the food was only mediocre.  We ate outside so the kids could run and play and not bother too many patrons.

Overall, the weekend was a great success.  I hope I get a chance to do it again next year.  Thank you ladies! Photos to follow shortly!

May 21, 2012

Amazing Race Party

It was recently my daughter's 14th Birthday and we had an Amazing Race Birthday Party.  The party started right after school.  All 8 girls got off the bus together.

Before the party started, however, things needed to get a bit organized.  So on Thursday I sent my daughter to school with an envelope for each girl.  These envelopes were not addressed, they were to draw them at random.  Inside the envelopes were instructions for the party and their team color.  They were asked to wear their team color to school on Friday.

I gave the girls 30 minutes after school to eat, drink and be loud.  After they completed that, we started with instructions for the race.  The Challenges were as follows:

1.  You and your team member must find your team mascot, name your mascot and return to me for the next challenge.  The night before I placed small stuffed animals in clear plastic sandwich bags and hid them around the block.  They didn't need to cross a street in order to complete this challenge.  It was also very important to treat the neighbors yards with respect.  I showed them houses they were not to stop at (crabby neighbors) and instructed them to always be polite.

2.  Roadblock:  I did get some of my ideas from the internet, such as this one.  I used cherry flavored jello and colored it black.  The team had to choose one member to complete this roadblock.  They needed to suck the jello through a straw.

3.  The next challenge was dress up.  I had a huge box full of odd items:  necklaces, scarves, hats, etc.  Each team member had to dress up the other person on their team in 3 dress up items.  They then needed to have a photo shoot.  They had to wear the items for the duration of the game along with carrying their team mascot.

4.  Scavenger hunt challenge:  Each team received a bag that my daughter and I made.  Inside the bag was a pencil and a list of scavenger hunt items:  plastic utensil, magnet, paper clip, napkin, clothes pin, and toilet paper roll.  They were to go to the neighbors to collect these items and they could only collect one item per neighbor.  At the end of the party, each girl received one of these bags.

5.  Once the scavenger hunt was complete, they needed to meet me at the local park by the swings.  One girl needed to swing while the other girl threw her bean bags and the girl on the swing needed to toss them into the hole.  This took lots of creativity.  One team realize that standing and swinging was the easiest way to go.

6.  Because it was so warm the day of the race, we needed a game that was a little bit slower.  So the next challenge was drawing.  One team member needed to be blind folded while the other team member instructed them on drawing a portrait.  The portrait needed to include the head, eyes, nose, mouth, hair, body, arms and legs.

7.  This challenge was the History of Mazomanie.  Downtown Mazomanie there are many signs as to the town's history and the history of various buildings.  If they didn't answer the questions correctly, they needed to return to downtown.  Questions included ages of buildings, information about the first Ringling Brothers performance in Mazomanie, questions about a local inventor - Mr. Appleby, about the railroad and questions about the original factories in town.  I used this time as my break to get dinner ready.

8.  The final challenge was to find the flag with your team color.

The Amazing Race lasted about 3 hours.  I took many photos and videos and put together their own television show as souvenirs of the party.  I couldn't wait to take a nap on Saturday after the girls all left.

We had build  your own walking tacos, fresh pineapple, popcorn, a candy counter, sodas, juice, lots and lots of water, and build your own cheesecake for a birthday cake.  I premade the cheesecake and allowed the girls to top it as they pleased.  However, I did need to guard the whipped cream can because they really wanted to just squirt it directly into their mouths.  Fun, yes, but just a little gross since they all needed to share.

April 13, 2012

The Bucket

I have this bucket outside.


My ex-husband made it years ago.  I never really knew what to do with it.  I kept it at the time because he made it and I couldn't just get rid of it.  When the kids started getting bigger it became the ball catch-all.  It held our supply of basketballs, volleyballs, soccer balls, footballs and the list goes on and on.  As the kids have grown and the number of sporting items have diminished (but not all gone), it is time to do something with the bucket.  I hate to throw it away.  So, I decided to dress it up a bit.


My summer time ball bucket as it was:



 









































I got out the spray paint primer and went to town.  


The first coat I started in white.




My son and I went to the local home improvement store and purchased trim, a fleur type thingy, teal spray paint and feet.  


He is the power tool man.  I came home from work and this is what I found.















He even put a bottom in it so it can still hold all the sporting good balls.  A lot of dog toys actually.


I think it looks so much better.  And thanks to my crafty son who is always so helpful in making my ideas come to fruition.  He is the best son!

April 11, 2012

Bullying within the School System

Ok, so I need a moment to vent.  Please bear with me.

Bullying has been such a major topic in the news the past few years.  It is such a horrible thing to happen to kids.  I know we will never get rid of it; however, when it does happen, kids need an adult to be their voice.

HELLO - I have got  a HUGE voice.

My daughter's best friend Sam is being bullied.  I won't stand for this.  Bullying has such a life long impact on a child.  Life is hard enough, nobody needs to live in fear and humiliation every day.

My daughter told me this story:

"Mom, yesterday Sam was at lunch outside of school and Mary (unnamed bully) and her friend (Anne, unnamed accomplice) were mean to Sam.  Mary brought to school an egg that she had emptied and filled with flour.  At lunch she went up to Sam and smashed it on her head.  Everybody laughed.  It was horrible.  Anne, the accomplice, video taped the entire thing on her ipod and posted it on Facebook."

It was bad enough that a 14 year old girl can preplan such meanness, let alone post it on Facebook for everybody to see.

The video shoes the girl preparing to smash the egg, walking up to Sam and running back to Anne laughing so hard she was doubled over.

I asked my daughter if anybody reported the incident.  Why?  Nobody was going to do anything about it.

I emailed the principal first thing in the morning, and by lunch didn't have a response.  I called the principal, the vice principal and was finally put in touch with the guidance counselor.  The guidance counselor state he had received my email and wasn't planned to take any action with the information.  He was actually crazy enough to tell me that Sam had been in to see him multiple times throughout the school year with other incidents of being bullied. 

I am sick, literally sick, that they are aware of this happening and they are not doing anything about it.

I may be the voice of one, but my voice will be heard.  I am realistic, I know bullying is never going to stop.  But when you know it is happening, you need to do something about it rather than sweep it under the rug.

April 10, 2012

I am Finally Doing It!

I have wanted to organize my craft room forever!


Finally, I have started.  I can't wait until it is finished.  Wait, it will probably never be finished.  I guess, I can't wait until it is at a point that I can actually use it as a craft room.  The kids and hubby will be so excited that they no longer have to dodge the piles of card making items or scrapbooking stuff, they can just walk through the living room like a normal family.


After I started, I realized I should have taken a before and after photo, at least a before and during the process photos.  But, the room was such a disaster area that you could hardly get in.  It has been the - Oh my goodness company is coming over pick that stuff up and throw it in that other bedroom - room.  Eventually it became so full of stuff you couldn't even open the door all the way.  Just open, aim and throw.  Close the door quickly because I would have for the cat to get trapped in there, she would never find her way back out again.


Remember when you were kids and you played the hot lava game.  Jumping from sofa to chair to cushion never touching the floor.  That's the way this room is (soon, was).  However, kind of the opposite.  You would jump to empty spot on the floor hoping not to miss because you would surely break something.


I am on the path to recovery from a disorganized crafting life.


I am so excited!  However, the hubby is afraid he will never see me again. 

April 8, 2012

Craziness

Sometimes life is just filled with CRAZINESS.

With my youngest being on spring break and her best friend being gone, I was bombarded daily with Mom, I am bored - Mom, what's there to do.  I finally took her to work with me to show her what real boredom is.  I took her home after 2 hours.  Thankfully we live very close to my office.

Then, just as spring break was ending, my oldest got sick and ended up in the hospital for four days.  They never did find out what is wrong with him, but just sent us home and told us to follow up with the specialists.  The following week we spent our time visiting doctors, who still have no answer for us.  We still have appointments to go to.  

Now I am looking for a little me time, but it is Easter weekend and the family is coming to my house.  I would prefer to go Geocaching or locking myself in my craft room and organizing it.  When the mood strikes me to organize my craft room, I better do it, otherwise it will be a few more weeks of tripping through the room to get items and haul them to the living room.  Then the entire family gets to trip over me and all my stuff on the floor.  Really, above everything else, I wish to be locked in my room for a couple of hours.  Just doing me things and tinkering around.  No phones, no television, no kids or husband, and no pets.  Just me and my junk and maybe some wine or soda and some good music.  That would be soooo great right now!

March 21, 2012

Scrap Fabric Wreath

I love Pinterest.  I know that people are leaving the site due to the rules about pinning items, but I still like to look and get ideas.

I found this gorgeous wreath and thought, I can do that.  Here's the link with tutorial to the original wreath I found:

http://whipperberry.com/2011/01/tutorial-red-burlap-wreath.html

I didn't stick with the original red wreath, instead I used fabric scraps.  I was employed at an architectural firm that also did interior design work.  One spring we decided to clean out all the old fabric books.  I couldn't just throw them all away, so I brought a bunch - like a LOT - home with me.  My husband has been so happy tripping over these for the past couple of years.  I've made a bunch of things with them, but I still had a lot of scraps left.












I opened the books and took out all the scraps that were in the red, pink and cream colors.  I cut the scraps to approximately 3", 4" and 5" squares.

Because the scraps are typically one sided, I put the right sides facing each other when making the little flowers.

I also covered the entire foam frame with fabric scraps so if there was a hole you wouldn't see the white foam.  I used hot glue to hold it all together.

It took a night in front of the television to cut all the pieces out of the books, and then another night cutting them to the right sizes and rounding the corners.  The third night I spent hot gluing the pieces onto the foam and burning my fingers.  I love hot glue, just haven't figured out how to not burn my fingers.

Also, because these scraps are mostly upholstery fabric, they made a huge mess.  My floors are wood so the clean up wasn't bad, but it was difficult to remove from the sofa.

March 18, 2012

Funny Mom

Ok, I have to admit.  Someday's I think I am funny.  And this past week there was such a day.

I knew that I wanted my daughter to do chores when she got home from school.  It was one of those early release days and she would be home by 11:30.  I've tried things like living a list on the table or taped the fridge but somehow they always disappeared.  So, this week, I got creative, or at least I thought so.  I made the list, dated it in case there was an excuse such as "Oh, I thought that was last weeks list".  I took that list and taped it to the front door.  Now, I've tried this method before and have heard results such as "oh, I didn't see the list.  I came home through the back door."  Now, when she gets off the bus and walks home, the back door is out of the way.  The children would spend energy walking to the back door.  So, here is my front door list:


  You totally couldn't miss this list of chores if you came through the front door.  Even if you walked past the house and glanced towards the front door, you couldn't miss the list.


BUT,  just in case, I was prepared.  I left a second note:



The second note was taped to the back door.  I wanted to cover all basis.

Along with a text stating that if her chores weren't completed she wouldn't be going to do things with her girlfriend for the remainder of the week, the chores got done.

No yelling.  No screaming.  No tears on either side.

And, the best part, I got a giggle out of being so darn creative - in my own sense- for the day.

March 13, 2012

The Seasons

If you were to ask me in July what my favorite season is, I would say Fall.  The crisp fresh air, the beautiful colors, and the cool mornings followed by warm days.  The excitement in the air about the holidays around the corner.  My favorite holiday (so to speak) is Halloween.  Living in Wisconsin you never know what you are going to get for weather.  I have dressed the kids from snow suits to shorts and t-shirts under their costumes.

However, come mid March my favorite season is Spring.  The cool mornings replaced by warm afternoons.  The freshness of the season.  The emerging flowers, the song birds returning and the days are getting longer.  Spring is a season for romance all soft and new.  The sights, sounds and smells.  People out walking their dogs, kids back outside playing.  The smell of people warming up their grills for the season.  Chatting with neighbors that have hibernated for the long cold winter.

Two favorite seasons, one for excitement and one for romance.

March 10, 2012

Bacon Pancakes from Pinterest




I have to admit, I love Pinterest.  All of those links that carry you on and on losing time, and all of the ideas they have, dreaming of all the time I wish I had to attempt to make those things.


A few things have come to fruition.  One being Bacon Pancakes, here's the Pinterest link:


http://pinterest.com/pin/30328997460075659/


YUM


My kids always put syrup on their bacon and pancakes, so why not try to combine the two for breakfast today.


First, cook your bacon.


  


Cover the bacon with your pancake batter






Cook like a regular pancake






However, the kids complained that the bacon always slipped out in one big strip.  So, I chopped up the bacon so you could have a piece of bacon in every bite:




So that when you add the batter it will look like this:




With this as the final outcome.  The kids loved this!  Will definitely make again, remembering to chop up the bacon before I precook it.






Hope you enjoy!

March 6, 2012

Diabetes Supply Storage

I have been trying to find ways to store items, while keeping them readily available yet not looking like a pharmacy in my kitchen.  My son typically uses an insulin pump, but when the pump is on the fritz we resort to insulin pens.  Insulin pens means all these pen needles.  Blood test lancets - one would be removed from the box or the sample bag and rest would spill all over the drawer.  I needed a way to keep them in sight so they get switched often, yet look decent.

I recycled some pasta sauce jars.



These looked much better, but with their shiny metal lids, they kind of looked out of place.  So, I roughed up the surface a bit and applied a white paint.



Just a quick rough coat, as I was going to apply two more coats.  The second and third coats were yellow and teal.  I then lighted sanded the lids to let the various colors and metal show through.  I think they look much better now.

Now to figure out how to disguise the Sharps container, yet still be able to turn it in when it is full.

March 3, 2012

Pumpkin Pie

I love pumpkin pie - made with fresh pumpkin in the fall.

I love it so much, I am in the middle of painting my kitchen an orange color called - Pumpkin Pie.  I can't believe what a difference it has made in my kitchen.  I can't wait to finish and post pictures.

March 2, 2012

My House

I live in a early 1900's craftsman's style home.  The plumbing and the majority of the electrical was updated about 8 years ago, along with the layout of the main level.  While the layout is a huge improvement, the use of an architect would have made it that much better.  However, the walls and ceiling on the entire main level were all painted this sort of brown color.  I hate it.

 In upcoming posts you will see pictures of my house as it is now (dirt, pet hair, etc etc).  (I have repainted all the rooms except the kitchen).  You will see the during and I will provide the after.  The main bedroom hasn't been touched since, I'd guess about 1948.  Honestly.  Ok, I did remove the really ugly light and put in a ceiling fan.  The style of our homes makes the second story almost unbearably hot during the summer.  The entire house had linoleum.  Bedrooms and everything.  It was a disaster.  The main bedroom still has the linoleum and it's U.G.L.Y.  I can't wait to post that.

The house has all new siding, new windows and a new roof.  Which is great as all of these are huge expenses.  I lost my job in 2009 in this wonderful economy and would not be able to afford the major upgrades.  My next major upgrade will be a hot water heater.  That's an entire story all it's own.  So, with limited income this is going to be a do it yourself time of home make over with lots of arts and crafts by myself and my children.  I can't wait!